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Post-Katrina Mental Health Crisis in New Orleans

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posted on Jan, 16 2007 @ 09:48 AM
As backward as Louisiana can be in many ways, one of the jewels in its crown has been a medical infrastructure that any state could envy.

New Orleans alone is home to two medical schools, Tulane and Louisiana State University, and the Charity Hospital System has been providing health care to the poor of Louisiana for about a century, besides being a premier teaching hospital and one of the best trauma centers in all the world.

Ochsner Hospital in Jefferson Parish just outside New Orleans is world renowned for cardiac care among other things.

I could go on.

Katrina changed all that and now that mental health issues are beginning to emerge in large numbers among the survivors, the health care system is burdened beyond its capacity to cope.

I received my clinical training at Touro Infirmary and Charity Hospital and have always been proud of the intensity of that training. It hurts in many ways to see that destroyed.

When I left New Orleans, I swore I'd never return. Now, perhaps, there is a need to serve. I'll have to give it some thought.

Sixteen months after Hurricane Katrina tore this city apart, a hidden sort of damage is emerging. Local officials see it in reports of suicides, strokes and stress-related deaths. They see it in the police calls for fights and domestic violence. They see it in the long waiting lists for psychiatric care that they have no way to provide.
These days, life in the Big Easy isn't easy at all. Everyone from the mayor to the people staffing the public health clinics sees it: New Orleans is facing an unprecedented mental health crisis — and the city has no way to deal with it.

The obvious problems only fuel the more subtle ones. About half of the city's 450,000 pre-Katrina residents have yet to return, according to the mayor's office, and entire neighborhoods remain filled with boarded-up homes and businesses. For those who have come back, everything is hard, and the challenges seem endless: lining up contractors, getting basic services restored, even finding neighborhood places to buy groceries, clothes and gasoline.

Now, many fear the situation could worsen. "This couple of months is our most critical time period. … New Year's, Mardi Gras, Easter, and if people need (mental health) services right now, there really is almost no place to go," says Kevin Stephens, director of the city Health Department.


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

[edit on 2007/1/16 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Jan, 16 2007 @ 01:25 PM
These sort of things most of us don't consider, because it has never happened to us.

In the space of a few hours your whole world is, if not destroyed, changed beyond all recognition. It would be a powerfully strong individual indeed if he or she didn't have some sort of issue relating to Katrina's devistation.

I haven't the training to help in that way...if you do Grady do give it some thought. All I can really do is help charities help those that need it.

posted on Jan, 16 2007 @ 02:10 PM
If you decide to leave the highdesert for the south for humanitarian reasons then "bless your heart" but you have my respect for being in the
health field reguardless. I was once married to a nurse and I know the stresses your profession can place on you. I also spent a summer in the Quarter and Metairie and have made a pledge to never return. Buena Suerte.

posted on Jan, 16 2007 @ 02:39 PM
You are both very kind. Certainly, donations are an important part of helping to heal this devastated area.

posted on Jan, 19 2007 @ 03:49 AM
There is no point in healing the area if the people are sick and damaged on the inside. Could something be set up online, like a group grief councilling session, I mean they grieve still for what has been lost. We need to help fix them on the inside before that city is going to get fixed on the outside. Bricks and mortar are only one part of a city, there is so much more to the heart and soul of a city, and that is a large part of what has been damaged and that need to get fixed.

They need community and councilling, even if it's to start training people in peer to peer support that should become a focus. Just a thought.

posted on Jan, 19 2007 @ 06:01 PM
Online group grief counseling is probably not such a good idea, but certainly support groups online to help people connect and share experiences and ideas would be a wonderful idea for those victims who are computer savvy.

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