Focus shifts to mental health six months after Eldon, Jefferson City tornado

Published: Dec. 4, 2019 at 4:45 PM CST
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Gina Terlizzi is busy packing up folders full of information.

"On disaster recovery, but also to provide them with information on other supports that are available within the community year-round," Terlizzi said.

Over the next two days, Terlizzi and her organization - the National Alliance on Mental Illness - will hold meetings in both Eldon and Jefferson City to help parents and families of children lost their homes to a destructive tornado in May.

"You might say six months seems like a long time away, but for many families, the rebuild process has just started, and this is when the mental health impacts can sometimes be felt the most," Terlizzi said.

A tornado ripping through a home also rips away a child's sense of normalcy, according to Terlizzi.

Families may be living out of hotels or with relatives until their home can be rebuilt.

"If there are children who still are feeling particularly anxious or nervous, we want to make sure parents and caregivers know where they can go for resources and how to best address that," Terlizzi added.

NAMI Missouri and the Missouri Special Needs Trust will provide a dinner Wednesday night at the Eldon Community Center, and then again Thursday night at the Linc in Jefferson City.

The meetings start at 6:00 p.m., but a dinner is provided starting at 5:30 p.m.

There will also be child care available while the presentation is given, and an opportunity for parents to ask questions both in a group and private setting.

"The resources do exist in our communities. Sometimes, is just a matter of making sure those who need the resources know how to get connected to them," Terlizzi added.

Tornado victims in Eldon and Jefferson City are asked to pre-register for the meetings by clicking

The meeting will also accept walk-ins.

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