In this Issue:
- United with Uvalde
- 2022 Season Forecast and Preparedness Tips
- ReadyHarris Accessible Alerts
- A Pause for Personal Peace by LaMecia Butler
United with Uvalde
We stand united with Uvalde and everyone impacted by the tragic events at Robb Elementary. Text UVALDE to 41444 to help.
The horrific events that took place in Uvalde on Tuesday have sent ripples of heartbreak, grief, and anguish through that community and ours. When a tragedy like this happens, it is imperative that we show those affected that they are not alone. They should not have to navigate these unimaginable circumstances by themselves. Our friends at United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County have launched the United with Uvalde fund to support immediate and long-term mental health services as well as emerging needs that will develop in the weeks and months ahead. Support services will be for students, teachers, and families in Uvalde. Funds will be made available to nonprofit organizations with experience and expertise in providing direct mental health services for communities impacted by trauma.
If you are able, please consider supporting the Uvalde community during this time of immeasurable loss.
2022 Forecast and Preparedness Tips
This hurricane season is forecast to be a very busy one with 19 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes likely. The time to prepare is now.
Be prepared BEFORE the hurricane:
- Know the storm surge history and elevation of your area.
- Learn a safe primary and alternate route inland.
- If evacuating, decide where you are going and what you will bring.
- Inventory your property and review your insurance policies for adequate coverage including flood insurance.
- Review needs and working conditions of emergency equipment (flashlights, battery-powered radios, non-perishable food, water, camping stove with fuel, plywood to properly secure your home).
- Keep trees trimmed. Cut weak branches.
- Make arrangements for pets ahead of time.
- Have 5-7 days of supplies available
- Follow TRUSTED sources of information
Real-time Rainfall and Flood Information
Weather Information and Forecasts
National Hurricane Center Forecasts
Federal Emergency Management Agency
City of Houston Emergency Information Center
Neighborhood Ready Home
ReadyHarris Accessible Alerts
Did you know? Harris County has ReadyHarris Accessible Alerts (RHAA) for residents who are deaf, blind, hard of hearing, have low vision or low literacy. This free, opt-in program sends emergency alert messages in American Sign Language (ASL), and voice and text in English and Spanish. These emergency alerts are compatible with internet and video capable devices such as computers, cell phones, smart phones, tablet computers, and wireless Braille readers.
Sign up for ReadyHarris Accessible Alerts TODAY by visiting www.hct.ahasalerts.com and click on “Sign Up.” You can also sign up by texting READY to (281) 609-9093.
A Pause for Personal Peace
From The Evolved Grustler By LaMecia Butler
May is Mental Health Awareness month and in honor of that I’m going to briefly use this space to share what’s happening in my headspace.
I usually write content in advance and even this weekend I was working on another piece when I learned about the tragic and in my opinion, senseless, activity that took place in Buffalo, NY –an act that is being described as one of the deadliest racist massacres in recent American History. Suddenly, what I was composing didn’t matter anymore. The recent events put me back in the mental space I was in this month two years ago. I remember having a conversation with my manager about how hard I was taking the news about Ahmaud Arbery. In him, I saw my 6’2 husband running in our neighborhood within a small Texas town where diversity was severely lacking. I don’t live in fear, but I do live with an awareness that no matter how friendly he is, to some he and even I may appear threatening simply because of the color of our skin. Weeks later I’d have another 1-2 punch when I lost a colleague unexpectedly and then the news of George Floyd’s murder was displayed far and wide. I had shared communal history with both of those individuals and I felt those deaths greatly.
During that time in 2020, my company hosted community check-ins, repeatedly made sure employees were aware of the counseling and mental health services made available to us and most importantly, we were encouraged to use them. I did some initial work but ultimately it would take me months and the loss of several additional friends and family throughout that year before I would work with a therapist to deal with my grief. I’m glad I did because one of the things she taught me is that grief comes in stages and waves and sometimes it arrives when you don’t anticipate.
This month I’ve been mentally reflecting where I was two years ago as the anniversary of those notable deaths draw near. I’ve been searching for progress to give me hope when my reality shows that our fight for basic rights such as voting and the mere ability to live a peaceful life are being challenged and taken away with fervor. I made some personal commitments this year as it relates to trying to introduce the changes I believe in but today, the best way I can honor those who’ve gone on before us is to pause and give us all time to reflect, feel, talk and seek professional help to process everything that we’re experiencing. It is my hope that you get the space you need and that you give others grace as they seek the same for their lives.
I wish you light, but understand that darkness may be looming for a while.
I’ll hold space for you, until you can hold it for yourself.
I’ll take care of me so that you don’t feel guilt for prioritizing yourself.
May peace be with you,
Mental Health Resources:
- National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) –https://www.nami.org
- NAMI HelpLine can be reached Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., ET. 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or firstname.lastname@example.org
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Call 800-273-TALK (8255) – If you or someone you know is in crisis—whether they are considering suicide or not—please call the toll-free Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7. Your call is confidential and free.
- Crisis Text Line – Text NAMI to 741-741 – Connect with a trained crisis counselor to receive free, 24/7 crisis support via text message.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline – Call 800-799-SAFE (7233) – Trained expert advocates are available 24/7 to provide confidential support to anyone experiencing domestic violence or seeking resources and information. Help is available in Spanish and other languages.
- National Sexual Assault Hotline – Call 800-656-HOPE (4673) – Connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area that offers access to a range of free services. Crisis chat support is available at Online Hotline. Free help, 24/7.