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Project PPE (Promoting Positive Emotions) is a Crisis Counseling Program funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help individuals and communities recover from natural and human-caused disasters such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The program utilizes local residents hired through community behavioral health providers to provide education, outreach, crisis counseling and referrals to individuals and families impacted by the current pandemic.

The PPE program is administered by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Division of Aging, Adult, and Behavioral Health in coordination with local providers throughout the state and is funded by FEMA.

The crisis counseling services are completely free to use. Call the Crisis Support Line at 833-993-2382 to be connected with one of the Partners. Visit http://www.staypositivearkansas.com for more information.

Crisis counselors do not classify, label, or diagnose people; no records or case files are kept.

The key difference between traditional mental health services and crisis counseling is the way services are provided. Mental health services implies assistance to individuals for an existing behavioral condition or disorder.

Crisis counseling serves to engage people and encourage them to talk about their experiences and teaches ways to manage stress. These activities can help counselors identify people who may need referrals to behavioral health treatment. They also enhance social and emotional connections to others in the community and promote effective coping strategies and resilience. Crisis Counselors work closely with community organizations to familiarize themselves with available resources and to link survivors to needed services, a news release said.

Participants have to be a resident of Arkansas to receive these free services.

The PPE program does not cover traditional mental health diagnosis/treatment, psychiatric services, medication, transportation, delivery of food/supplies, child care, or financial assistance.

Telehealth is the use of videoconferencing technology to deliver crisis counseling services from a distance.

Connect through Facebook, /StayPositiveArkansas; Instagram, /staypositivearkansas/; and Twitter, @StayPositiveAR.

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