Julie Bauer is an American Red Cross disaster relief volunteer. She's provided aid following nearly a dozen catastrophes.
“Everyone in the community is up to helping, there's a lot of adrenaline going” says Bauer.
Tomorrow she's heading to Alabama to help those affecting by the tornadoes that struck earlier in the week, but Bauer won't be rebuilding torn houses or businesses; she'll be rebuilding people as a mental health volunteer.
“They might be ok initially but then the reality of that can come in. Maybe their business is destroyed or they might not have employment” says Bauer.
Bauer is now retired. She used to work as school counselor and wanted to use her talents to give back, but admits being a mental health volunteer isn't' the easiest task.
“When I was first at Katrina i had to watch myself, to muster up a bit” says Bauer.
She says that the constant sad stories can take a major toll on her own well-being.
‘Yea, you sit and de-stress with your peers” says Bauer.
Right now, the Northeast Indiana Chapter has only about 20 mental health volunteers. Bauer says it's a position that's often hard to fill.
“Mental health seems to be a short area because you commit to go for 2 or 3 weeks” says Bauer.
Yes, time commitment is a must, along with the required Red Cross training, but above all Bauer says that to be mental health volunteer, you must have the ability to listen--“It's just pretty much like a good friend, listening more, trying to be supportive, give them hope that this will get better” says Bauer.
To become a Red Cross Volunteer like Julie, head to redcrossofnei.org