JOPLIN, MO.--- As the community continues to rebuild 19 months after the devastating tornado, Psychologist Vicky Miesler says many Joplin residents are still dealing with emotional scars from that traumatic day.
"Often times people put mental health on the back burner. Unfortunately that is probably the worst thing you can do and what we've seen in this 2nd year past the tornado is that those who did that are coming to us with much more severe problems," states Vicky Miesler, Psychologist.
Statistics from the Ozark Center's Access Crisis Intervention Center show a 52% increase in crisis calls over the past 2 years. Within a few months of the disaster, the Ozark Center saw a 40% increase in domestic violence, a 40% increase in gambling, and an 80% increase in substance abuse. Suicides have also increased by 30% in past 2 years.
"This grant will continue to allow us to see adults and children who have issues related to the tornado who are uninsured or under insured," states Miesler.
Jill Howard says her family found therapy helpful after the storm.
"I think counseling is a very valuable thing to do. Those that lived through the tornado, some have been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, so there's a need for it," states Jill Howard.
If you think you need immediate mental health treatment you can text or call the Ozark Center's Access Crisis Intervention 24/7 at 417.347.7720.