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Thursday, February 21, 2013 - CentraState and Monmouth County Division of Mental Health & Addictions Honor Superstorm Sandy Responders
News Release 

 For Release: February 21, 2013 

Contact: Abbey Luterick, Public Relations/Marketing (732) 294-7080 

CentraState and Monmouth County Division of Mental Health & Addictions Honor Superstorm Sandy Responders 

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — When Superstorm Sandy hit central New Jersey, the devastation to property was obvious. Less obvious was the impact the storm had on the mental health and well-being of residents.   

That’s why the ongoing work of mental health “first responders”– employees of CentraState Healthcare System and Disaster Response Crisis Counselors from the Monmouth County Division of Mental Health & Addiction Services–has been critical to the area’s recovery, says Moustafa Shafey, MD, board-certified psychiatrist and assistant chief of staff at CentraState.   

“These responders, who are volunteers in many cases, have worked tirelessly to offer their support to people who are still dealing with the emotional impacts of the storm,” Dr. Shafey says. “At CentraState, our staff members were literally working around the clock during and in the days after Sandy, even some whose own homes and neighborhoods were impacted.”   

To honor their work, CentraState and the Division of Mental Health & Addictions are hosting “An Evening of Appreciation for Superstorm Sandy Mental Health Responders & CentraState Medical Center Staff” from 4 to 9 p.m. on Friday, March 1, in the hospital’s Conference Center.   

The event was born from a chance conversation between Dr. Shafey and Steven Horvath, MPA, assistant director, Monmouth County Office of Mental Health. They decided that while many groups have been lauded for their storm relief efforts, the work of mental health responders has gone largely unrecognized.   

Responders, including a team from the NJ Hope and Healing campaign, have been offering grief counseling and psychological first aid at Monmouth County’s three disaster recovery centers since the early days of the storm, according to Horvath. They’ve also been working with community groups to help identify people who still may be struggling with post-storm mental health issues. 

CentraState & Monmouth County Honor Sandy Responders “People are carrying around emotional scars that, in some cases, are just now starting to come to light,” Horvath says. “Our responders having been working to identify these people and help them get to the best emotional state possible under the circumstances.” 

The March 1 event will feature activities based around the same work responders have done – offering stress relief (massages); information (a discussion titled “Compassion Fatigue ‘When the Crisis Doesn’t End’”); and a little laughter (a comedy show). Hors d’oeuvres and dinner will also be served. 

About CentraState
CentraState Healthcare System is a non-profit community health organization consisting of an acute-care hospital, a health and wellness campus, three senior living communities, a charitable foundation and a Family Medicine Residency Program, sponsored by UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.   

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CentraState Healthcare System
901 West Main Street | Freehold, New Jersey 07728 | 732-431-2000