Health Alert: TIP Coming to the Mountains

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- A national program that relies on volunteers to comfort families of trauma victims is coming to the mountains.

    The Trauma Intervention Programs is widely used in other parts of the country.

    "The TIP program is a group of highly-trained citizen volunteers who respond through the 911 system to the scene of a trauma," TIP volunteer Mandy Atkission says.

    Often, the TIP website shows the mission involves consoling friends and family dealing with a loved one's death from sudden trauma.

    "So while I was a senior in high school, I got called out to a car accident where a bunch of seniors from a different high school were driving, one was drunk driving," Staci Atkission recalls.

    Staci and her mother Mandy remember three people died that night.

    "We get family involved, we call maybe their minister," Mandy said. "We'll do all sorts of things to get a support system around them."

    The volunteers do all this while offering information on everything from counseling to vital records to funeral arrangements coupled with compassion.

    "We learn during training it's OK tp cry with the family as long as you don't cry louder or longer," Staci said. "It's OK to sit there and cry with them and sometime you do because it is emotional."

    TIP is looking for 35 to 40 volunteers in Buncombe and Henderson counties.

    Extensive training begins next month. Click here for more information.

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