Thursday, November 01, 2007

I Wanna Be Sedated

Typically after something like Hurricane Katrina, the number of people suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) jumps. Here in the Gulf Coast region, the number doubled after Katrina. Faculty at Xavier often joke that we're not suffering from PTSD, because we haven't yet entered the "post" stage. Turns out our observations were right. Typically after disasters, over time, the numbers go down. Not here in K-Ville. Those suffering from PTSD now two years later has significantly increased, and a whopping 8% of people are contemplating suicide, according to the latest findings released in a report by Harvard Medical School published in the Journal of Molecular Psychiatry. Interestingly those suffering from depression are from all socio-economic and racial backgrounds. The researchers theorize that the increase in mental illness is due to the slow rate of recovery.

NPR covers this story here.

Thanks to Sue for the depressing lead.


Anonymous said...

Max V.

Actually 8% would not be all that bad if indeed they all committed suicide. In 2005 the Association of Suicidology ranked La. 27th among the U.S. States (including the District of Columbia). We had a rate of 11.9 per 100,000; the national average was 11.1. Alaska ranked highest with 23.6 per 100,000. Even without hurricanes, think of how depressing it must be up there. There are many variables in reporting these kinds of figures, i.e. data gathering techniques such as reporting published government statistics or gathering your own data. Actually, the rate in La. went down just after the hurricane (maybe because suicide prone people had evacuated and killed themselves in other places). The Harvard rates running even across social and racial lines is a bit surprising. Before Katrina, the least likely group to commit suicide were young black males and the variables there were close family ties and association with a church group.

Ann said...

It only exacerbates the situation that health care is so badly broken. I live in St. Tammany Parish, which has less than half the number of psychiatrists it had before the storm (per my psychiatrist, who was able to work me in a few months ago as a pre-existing patient when he had a cancellation.) At the time (May) he said "I can see you tomorrow at 11:00, or I can see you in August."