Blogathon for Pearlington

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Post-Katrina Mental Health

Some statistics from Forbes--

One survey found that 68 percent of female caregivers had a mental health
disability because of symptoms of depression, anxiety or other psychiatric
Another survey found that 19 percent of police officers and 22 percent of
firefighters reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while
26 percent of police and 27 percent of firefighters reported major depressive
A crisis-call center in Mississippi handling inquiries mostly from people
dealing with depression and anxiety reported a 61 percent increase in volume
between March 1 and May 31, 2006, compared with the period just after the
hurricanes, Oct 31 and Dec. 31, 2005.
The deputy coroner of New Orleans recorded almost a threefold increase in
suicide rates, from nine per 100,000 to 26 per 100,000 in the four months after
Katrina hit. And the murder rate in New Orleans, which fell in 2005, has risen
by 37.1 percent above pre-hurricane levels for the first half of 2006.
In Louisiana, mental health counselors supported by federal government agencies
made 158,260 referrals. This doesn't include people who sought support
Recent estimates suggest that only 140 of 617 primary-care physicians have
returned to practice in New Orleans. Only 100 doctors along the Gulf Coast area
are participating in the Medicaid program, compared to 400 before Katrina hit.
And estimates also suggest that only 22 of 196 psychiatrists continue to
practice in New Orleans, while the number of psychiatric hospital beds has been
sharply reduced: as of June 14, the authors said, there were only two
psychiatric beds within a 25-mile radius of New Orleans.

This is why we have to offer what hope we can.


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