National Alliance on Mental Illness
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November 2, 2007

The Continuing Crisis

Mental health problems from Hurricane Katrina are devastating the region

Two years after Hurricane Katrina, the Gulf region continues to face a mental health crisis. Approximately 14 percent of persons in the region today report mental illnesses, an increase from the period six months after the storm.

In New Orleans, which was hit hardest by the storm, the rate is approximately 17%, but is relatively unchanged.   The state speculates that people displaced by the hurricane who now have mental health problems are likely to have a harder time returning home, with fewer resources and coping skills to overcome the obstacles involved in rebuilding their neighborhoods.

Residents of a Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) trailer park in Mississippi were recently notified that they would be moved to permanent housing, but without being told exactly when and to where. One study has reported that suicide attempts in FEMA trailer parks are 79 times the national average.

Media Coverage

National Public Radio (November 1)
Hurricane Katrina Victims' Mental Health Worsens

The Times-Picayune (November 1)
Mental illness on increase in Gulf Coast communities

The Kansas City Star (October 31)
Mental-health and housing issues inextricably linked since Katrina