Psychologist Travels to Help with Tornado Victims

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JEFFERSON CITY - A former Fulton Public School psychologist will leave Wednesday for North Carolina. American Red Cross volunteer Shirley Kunkle will travel down south to assist victims experiencing mental issues because of the disaster. Her trip will last about two weeks.

Jefferson City's American Red Cross recruiter Phillip Iman says mental health is a concern for disaster victims, so sending volunteers to help is very important. "We're trying to determine their need and how we can help them recover that loss whether it be from the loss of a friend or loved one," he said.

This isn't the first time Kunkle deployed for a disaster. She helped with Hurricane Katrina in 2005 for two weeks as well. The tornado hitting North Carolina ruined homes and businesses while killing 22 people in the state.

Kunkle says her primary expectation for the victims' mental state in North Carolina is stress. She plans to listen to all of the victims, help determine their needs, and do some short-term counseling. "The people often want to talk and tell their story. So, a lot of it is listening to them," she said.