Getting Over the Hump

American Red Cross disaster mental health volunteers are helping many Iowans cope with the flood of emotions they experience after the water subsides. Red Cross volunteer Susan Houvener is a Kalamazoo, Mich. based social worker working in Waverly. 


“People know how to handle themselves. I’m just here to help them get over the hump,” Houvener says modestly about her role.


Many people need a person to talk with and some need a shoulder to cry on. But for others more mental health assistance is needed. In these cases the Red Cross is there to help folks tap into all the resources that are available in their local community.


Houvener says she personally copes with the stress by making a nightly list of everything good that happened to her that day. She recommends this advice to others including a twelve-year-old boy staying at a Red Cross shelter with his family. When Houvener asked the boy what good things happened that day, he told her, “Well, nothing bad happened today.” 


“That in itself is a good thing,” Houvener said encouragingly.


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