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Victims facing mental health issues one month after devastating tornadoes

The damage to mental health is not as easy to see as the damage to homes and businesses

SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. — One month after devastating tornadoes, the damage to homes and businesses are obvious in Spalding County - while the impact on mental health is much more difficult to see.

A month later, Tommy Willis is still feeling the trauma.

“Three trees fell right there,” said Willis while pointing at gaping holes in his roof. “If my wife and I had been in the bed the trees would have fell on us.”

He has acknowledged the damage to his mental well-being.

“I thought about it the other day when the wind was blowing,” said Willis. “I said no. No more trees.”

RELATED: Tornado victims waiting for answers a month later

January’s tornado damaged more than 2,000 homes and businesses in Griffin and the rest of Spalding County.

City and county leaders expect to take years to reach full recovery.

“Unfortunately, that’s what our experience shows,” said Fire Chief and EMA Director Glenn Polk “This is a long process. People are in it for the long haul.”

Part of the process includes resources to help victims over the mental anguish.

“The stress and the mental anguish I think will be around a long time,” said Griffin City Manager Jessica O’Connor. “I would ask that anybody who can go to the disaster recovery center and ask for help. Ask for what they need.”

The city of Griffin Tornado Recovery website encourages victims suffering from stress to call the Georgia Crisis and Access Line at 1-800-715-4225. Spalding County also has a page that lists resources for victims.

Willis is trying to focus on all the storm spared.

“It’s just a blessing we’re alive ‘cause it could have killed both of us,” said Willis.

It helps while he waits for help repairing the damage left by the storm.

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