JFCS coordinates counseling options to those affected by Tree of Life tragedy
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JFCS coordinates counseling options to those affected by Tree of Life tragedy

'People should take the time they need to process what is an unspeakable assault on everything they thought was normal.'

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In the wake of last weekend’s tragedy, Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS), in concert with our partners in the Jewish community, has organized counseling for anyone in the community. JFCS has long been a critical community resource for counseling services.

“Trauma manifests itself on different people different ways and in different times,” says Stefanie Small, director of Counseling Services at JFCS, “so people should take the time they need to process what is an unspeakable assault on everything they thought was normal, and reach out if they need someone to talk to or to just listen.”

We are holding drop-in counseling in room 202 at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (due to construction, enter on Forbes Avenue only) from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. through Friday, and 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Saturday. JFCS therapists have been staffing shifts along with more than 40 area therapeutic professionals who came forward to volunteer their help.

JFCS is offering alternative therapies like acupuncture, massage and reiki by appointment at the JFCS Squirrel Hill Food Pantry (call 412-421-2708).

Individual counseling is also available at JFCS by appointment: call 412-422-7200. And Pittsburgh Rape Crisis Center has offered their “Warm-line” services (1-866-363-7273 – when prompted press 2), staffed around the clock by crisis counselors.

Additional efforts focus more on general community outreach. JFCS counselors have been to the local Jewish day schools, and we have arranged for therapists to help at local synagogues, Carnegie Library Play Space, JCC in Squirrel Hill and JCC of the South Hills, Squirrel Hill Medical Center, JCC pre-teen, pre-school and after school programs, senior centers around the city, Literacy Pittsburgh, Men’s Club at Beth El and Repair The World. United Hatzalah has been sent to the JCC, JUC (Jewish University Center), Shady Side Academy and private homes. If your community is looking for support, call our office at 412-422-7200.

JFCS also gratefully welcomed the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC) on Monday. As professionals who have extensive experience with this kind of event, they supported our team by conducting workshops in crisis trauma for JFCS personnel, and sent representatives to Pittsburgh Public Schools and the Allegheny County Office of Behavioral Health, local synagogues, and to meet with individual families.

“JFCS is concerned about all members of our community,” said Small. “That includes first responders and law enforcement, survivors, children, neighbors and strangers, Jews and non-Jews, the refugee and immigrant communities that were shocked by the directed hate of the shooter, and anyone who feels angry, grief-stricken, hopeless or just numb. Call somebody – you are not alone.”

Call us today and we’ll connect you to support you need, 412-422-7200.

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