Mental health clinic coming to Eldon and Jefferson City

8 months 5 days 2 hours ago Wednesday, December 04 2019 Dec 4, 2019 Wednesday, December 04, 2019 7:00:00 AM CST December 04, 2019 in News
By: Ian Russell, KOMU 8 News

JEFFERSON CITY - It's been almost seven months since a tornado tore through Eldon and Jefferson City, but trauma for children in the area may just be setting in.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness, or NAMI, is hosting two community meetings to help parents learn how to help their children as they work through issues they may be facing after the tornado.

The first meeting is Wednesday, Dec. 4th, at the Eldon Community Center. The second meeting, on Thursday, will take place at The Linc in Jefferson City. For both days, dinner will be provided at 5:30 p.m. with the meeting set to start at 6 p.m.

Gena Terlizzi, the executive director for NAMI, said it's an appropriate time to look at the mental health of children involved.

"When we start getting months out from a disaster, when there are still high levels of anxiety surrounding those events, that's when we want to take a little bit of a closer look," Terlizzi said. "And also, just let parents know where they can go and what steps to take to help their child."

She also said, while time may have passed since the tornado hit, residents of those areas still deal with these issues on daily basis.

"As time goes on, attention shifts elsewhere, and for those left in that impacted area, they can sometimes feel a little bit left behind," Terlizzi said. "I think then, when you're faced with it, day after day, when you're in Jefferson City, when you see the areas that are still damaged, it's that reminder that recovery is still really very early in that process."

Terlizzi said because of that, the meetings had to happen.

"That's another reason we're having these meetings. We want people to know that there are resources out there, there are people that care and are willing to help," Terlizzi said. "And it can be difficult to navigate those resources sometimes, so that's another reason why we want to make it as easy as possible to come and get that information."

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