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Post-Fire Coping and Free Counseling

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Updated 6/26/18. Almost 9 months after the fire, fire survivors may be entering one of the more difficult phases following a trauma, with an assortment of emotional and physical symptoms.  Real emotional recovery may take a year or more to begin.

California HOPE – Free, Confidential Counseling.  

For people having difficulty coping, Sonoma County Behavioral Health Division is working with a program called California HOPE » to provide counselors:

  • Free one-on-one counseling at a person’s home or other setting
  • Free, short, informative presentations on trauma and coping techniques useful for fire survivors as well as for their friends, loved ones, and coworkers.
  • The private sessions or group presentations can be arranged to be held at a convenient time and place for participants.
    • Presentations can be tailored to include information and help for children and teens and can include additional counselors to provide help at the time of the presentation.
    • I reluctantly attended a group presentation, and I found it useful and not overly long.
  • Sonoma County Behavioral Health Division can provide more accurate scheduling and availability information (see below).

Quick Calming Tip — When feeling overwhelmed and anxious, rather than deep breathing, instead:

Inhale for a count of 3; exhale for a count of 6.
Repeat 3-4 times.  This helps your body calm a little.

California HOPE Contact Info

Project Manager 707.565.4868
Adults age 50 or better 707.608.8804
Santa Rosa 707.608.8805
North County 707.608.8807
Sonoma Valley 707.608.8806
South County 707.608.8806
West County 707.608.8807

Additional Free Therapy

Individual Therapy: 3 – 5 Sessions FREE
Provided by Redwood Chapter of CAMFT

Individual Therapy: Fire Fund FREE Sessions
Provided by Lomi Psychotherapy Clinic ~ Intake Line: 707-579-0465 x227

Individual Therapy: Fire Recovery Focus – FREE sessions
Provided by Wildfire Mental Health Collaborative ~ Call NAMI: (866) 960-6264

Community Support Groups for Fire Survivors – FREE (led by Licensed MFTs)
Provided by Redwood Chapter of CAMFT
Location: Catholic Charities, at 987 Airway Court in Santa Rosa ~ Saturdays, 3:00 to 4:30 PM

Sonoma County Behavioral Health
Access: (707) 565-6900
CSU: (707) 576-8181

Wendy Wheelwright, MFT
Sonoma County Behavioral Health Division
(707) 565-4868 FREE Online Post-Fire Emotional Support » is a self-help service designed to help survivors learn more about post-disaster stress and cope more effectively with the effects of the disaster. Trauma challenges our capacity to cope. It forces us to re-evaluate our beliefs and find new ways to move ahead in our lives. This site is designed to help you with this process. It is not intended to replace professional counseling. If you use this service and find that you are not improving, please use the local resources page and seek help from a professional counselor. (info from

Disaster Distress Helpline

SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline » provides 24/7, 365-day-a-year crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) offers many other services » .  SAMHSA is a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agency that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. (Info from SAMHSA)


Helping Children and Youth Cope after a Traumatic Event »

A Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers

Mental Health Resource Guide »

Local phone numbers

Supporting Someone after a Disaster »

Tips for Survivors – Grief »

Tips for Survivors – Stress »

Post-Traumatic Stress Reactions »

Managing Triggers

The combination of triggers, reminders, and chronic stress can create intense physical and emotional reactions that make it hard for you to stay calm. If you learn to manage these distressing reactions, you can reduce their negative effects on decision-making, interpersonal life, daily functioning, sleep, and physical health. You can also reduce the risk of substance abuse or other maladaptive coping responses.

Skills for Crisis Recovery   Slides from a PowerPoint presentation (pdf format)

THINGS CHANGE ALL THE TIME.  Please always check with the appropriate agency or entity for current information.  

Information above from the respective agencies.

Neighbors Together ~ Strong & Resilient does not provide any advice or endorse any service provider or agency. 

October 2017 Northern California Firestorm: Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa: Coffey Park; Fountaingrove (Hidden Valley Estates (HVE) is lumped with FG); Larkfield-Wikiup-Mark West-Riebli; Rincon Valley-Deer Trail-Calistoga Rd; Bennett Ridge (Nuns/Annadel Fire) . . . See more . . . »



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