Katrina survivors face yet another downslide - mental illness

by Savitha C Muppala on  August 29, 2006 at 5:02 PM Mental Health News   - G J E 4
Katrina survivors face yet another downslide - mental illness
The deluge called Katrina caused indelible havoc, visible by the huge numbers of homes razed to the ground, rocking the very edifice of its victims' lives. The intangible consequences, not apparent on the face of it, but that which goes far deeper, is the state of mind of the survivors, torn by memories of the disaster, resulting in many forms of mental ailments - a study revealed.

The study has shown that nearly 15% of the residents of the countries and parishes, which faced the onslaught, suffer from many forms of mental ailment- depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The data revealed that about 11% suffer acute mental illness, compared with the 6% figure before the Katrina struck. Surprisingly, the suicide rates had declined, though this trend is not new, opine researchers. The sentiment that reigns during times of crisis ensures people muster the strength to survive odds, instead of giving up on life.

"Suicide rates always go down in times of war. ... People pull together," says Ronald Kessler of Harvard Medical School, who also led the study.

Psychiatrist Eugenio Rothe of the University of Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital said "We did a study in Miami after Hurricane Andrew. The first year, people were busy getting through the day, rebuilding, and getting their lives back in order. Then it hits them how much they've lost. They start mourning their losses." This is reason enough to be concerned about the mental state of the hurricane survivors.

Source: Medindia

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