PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

First-ever state-sponsored Mental Health Emergency Response Team at work on Sanibel

SERT Mental Health & Wellness Field Unit on Sanibel Island.
Stacey Brown
SERT Mental Health & Wellness Field Unit on Sanibel Island.

In the days and weeks after a disaster like Hurricane Ian, it’s often up to local nonprofits and mental health professionals who are volunteering their time to step in and provide support for people who have been impacted. Now, for the first time ever, Florida’s State Emergency Response Team — or SERT — is supporting a program to assemble a group of mental health professionals including therapists, counselors, and massage therapists to work directly with residents and first responders who are still in the midst of recovery work.

This SERT Mental Health & Wellness Field Unit got up and running last week on Sanibel to be there for residents as they returned to the island. It is initially comprised of mostly locals, but they are working to expand it in the weeks ahead.

And, while it is currently focused on Sanibel the mission includes all of Lee County so they're hoping to reach other parts of Southwest Florida in the future.

We learn more about how it came together and the work they’re doing with two people instrumental in its forming and foundation.

Click here to submit an application if you are interested in volunteering your talents to help this team.