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New Group Hopes To Repair Psychological Pain Caused By Sandy

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TWC News: New Group Hopes To Repair Psychological Pain Caused By Sandy
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The damage done by Hurricane Sandy is more than just structural, it's also psychological, and a newly created group hopes to address some of the emotional and spiritual needs the storm left behind.

Mathylde Frontus showed NY1 how far the water reached when Hurricane Sandy came pummeling through at the office of Urban Neighborhood Services, the social services agency she founded in Coney Island four years ago. Everything inside was ruined.

"We didn't really even have time to mourn because as leaders in the community, we immediately had to start thinking about the needs of our neighbors," Frontus said.

Frontus first helped distribute supplies. Now, she's part of a newly formed organization called the Brooklyn Longterm Recovery Group. It's a coalition of mental health professionals, social workers and spiritual leaders dedicated to help residents deal with the trauma caused by Hurricane Sandy.

Rev. Dr. Cheryl Anthony heads the group.

"We want to be able to walk alongside individuals," Anthony said. "Even though Sandy has gone, the devastation is still here, so we will be providing long-term services. We're providing counseling, supportive services."

Both women said the need in the community is great. Frontus knows the devastation firsthand on both a professional and personal level. She's been displaced from her Coney Island home, too, and living in a hotel for the past three months.

"Even us, as the mental health professionals who are helping other people, we realize that we're all in this together," Frontus said. "We have been impacted, and we're reaching out to help other people who have been impacted."

The services provided aren't only for the residents in Coney Island, but for other areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy, including Red Hook, Canarsie and the Rockaways.

The recovery group said the entire fabric of communities needs to be healed, and that goes beyond the physical rebuilding. They plan on doing mental health assessments and workshops on an ongoing basis.

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