The National Disaster Distress Helpline: Responding to Natural Disasters and Mass Violence

July 12, 2016
Hosted by Jessica Pirro

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Guest Information

Episode Description

Hurricane Sandy, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the recent Ebola outbreak are just a few examples of disasters that affected not only those who experienced the crisis first hand, but had a global impact as we watched these tragedies unfold before our eyes. When disasters occur, first responders are called into action to help provide support, intervention and help to begin to restore order to the chaos that surrounds us. Providing help during a disaster is the main priority of the National Disaster Distress Helpline. People experience a wide range of emotions before and after a disaster or traumatic event. There’s no right or wrong way to feel. However, it’s important to find healthy ways to cope. In this show we will discuss the different types of disasters, the warning signs and risk factors after a disaster and the help that is available to begin the road to recovery.

The Journey- Stories of Crisis and Hope

Archives Available on VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel

When crisis occurs there is an emotional and physical impact to ones wellbeing. As a crisis first responder I have seen firsthand the impact of not dealing with crisis and trauma can have on a person’s sense of self, purpose and belief in happiness and hope. The Journey- Stories of Crisis and Hope will provide education and real life experiences dealing with various issues including mental health, rape, domestic violence, suicide. We will talk about the signs and symptoms of these types of crisis, how you can help yourself, a friend or loved one in order to save a life and restore a sense of hope. My goal is to have an open and honest dialogue to help you know that you are not alone, empower you to seek help and begin your road to a life you want and not be defined by crises that have occurred to you. We will share information on effective interventions, cutting edge programming and awareness of services that you can reach out to in order begin their process of healing.

Jessica Pirro

Jessica C. Pirro received her undergraduate degree in Child and Family Studies and her Masters of Social Work from Syracuse University. She is a NYS Licensed Master Social Worker. Ms. Pirro moved to Buffalo in 1997 and worked for Erie County to set up the Domestic Violence Unit, under the direction of the Wellstone/Murray Amendment Family Violence Option. She began working at Crisis Services in 1999 as the Supervising Counselor of the Advocate Program, the NYS Dept. of Health Rape Crisis Center, and a NYS licensed non-residential domestic violence provider. She was promoted to Coordinator in 2001. In 2006, Ms. Pirro was promoted to Associate Director, charged with overseeing all agency clinical operations 24 hours a day.

In September 2014, she was appointed as Chief Executive Officer and leads the agency’s crisis first responders helping those impacted by crisis with specialty areas around suicide prevention, mental health, domestic violence, rape, elder abuse and homelessness. She was recognized as one of Buffalo’s Business First’s 40 under Forty in 2010 and honored as an Advocate for Change by the It Happened to Alexa Foundation in 2008. She is Co-Chair of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Erie County, serves as the Project Champion for the Millennium Collaborative Care DSRIP Crisis Stabilization project and is a member of the Health Foundation of Central and Western New York’s Fellows Program. She resides in Buffalo, NY with her husband, step-son and 2 fur kids.

Episode Directory

August 2016

July 2016

  • 7/26/2016: The Community Response to the Immediate and Long Term Impacts of Child Abuse Listen Now
  • 7/19/2016: Culture, Power and the Social Dynamics of Bullying: Our Role in Prevention and Intervention Listen Now
  • 7/12/2016: The National Disaster Distress Helpline: Responding to Natural Disasters and Mass Violence Listen Now
  • 7/5/2016: Understanding, Support and Advocacy: From an Individual's Mental Health Diagnosis to the Impact on the Family Listen Now

June 2016

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