It takes The Village

With the Souris River flood of 2011 two years behind us, it can be tempting to want to forget that summer of high water and the devastation it heaped on the people in the area. For people who are still recovering from the flood, however, that cruel summer is still present in their minds and not so easy to forget.

The Village Family Service Center, located at 20-1st St. SW in Minot, continues to offer counseling for people who are struggling with flood recovery. Joanne Jandro, licensed professional clinical counselor with The Village Family Service Center, also considered the flood counselor, said they are still offering free flood counseling until the end of March 2014. They will be updating their public service announcement on the local access cable channel to tell the community that free flood counseling services will still be offered, she said. New clients continue to come in for flood counseling, Jandro added, and people still call in for appointments two or three times each week.

“With the two-year anniversary of the flood, people might think the service is no longer available, but it is.”

The flood counseling is available to anyone living within the city of Minot and near the surrounding area, Jandro said. People think they haven’t experienced any emotional impact from the flood, she added, but upon further discussion it’s discovered that they have been impacted. “So we say if you were here during the flood, you were impacted. It was a trauma for the whole community, it all counts,” Jandro said. One person came in and talked about the impact of the news broadcast during the flood, she continued, and the travel time it took to get from one part of town to the other.

“A lot of people don’t see themselves as impacted by the flood because they weren’t flooded,” Jandro said.

The magnitude in which people were hurt from the flood is on a spectrum, Jandro said. “Some lost everything and have tried to rebuild but are struggling because they didn’t qualify for any help and that increased trauma, while some people didn’t experience actual trauma but helped other people who were flooded or had people live with them and that caused problems,” she continued. “It goes from one extreme to another.”

For those people who are still in counseling at The Village Family Service Center, the way they’re feeling has more to do with everyone else seemingly moving on, so they tend to feel left behind.

“There’s a sense of isolation and separation,” Jandro said. “Now if they’re not in their house or haven’t yet resolved their feelings, it’s a blame game. People are tired of thinking and talking about the flood, people want to move on, but those continuing to struggle are on the outside.”

What’s more, with the news of Hope Village soon leaving the area, she thought that might put a wedge between people struggling and moving on. “They feel lost in the shuffle.”

Jandro said she’d like for people to know that support isn’t a bad thing and talking to a neutral third party who listens can be very helpful. “Allowing yourself to accept help from a professional is the best way to help yourself,” she added. It gives the person an opportunity to re-center and find the energy to move forward, Jandro said. She is there as an impartial third party to listen and for people to express grief or sadness, she added. We carry our emotions with us, Jandro continued, and they have to be let out.

“Change is hard, but it’s the only thing that’s consistent in our lives,” Jandro noted.

People might be leery of coming in for free flood counseling from The Village Family Service Center, Jandro said, because they think there might be a hidden agenda, but there’s no expectation. People can come in once or many times, she said.

“We’re here to support people in recovery and provide emotional support without conditions.”

People interested in flood counseling are encouraged to call The Village Family Service Center at 852-3328 and ask for a flood counselor, Jandro said, and an appointment will be set up.