The Dirt

The Debris Ep. 9: Mental Health

The devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the floods that followed is most visible in pictures of ruined houses and people’s destroyed possessions lying out on city streets. But there’s unseen damage that runs even deeper: the collective emotional trauma experienced by the thousands of people who lived through it.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of New Orleanians who returned to the city says 50 percent of the respondents showed a need for mental health assistance. Another survey, of families who wound up in FEMA trailers, showed high rates of disability due to depression and anxiety.

This week on The Debris, we take a look at how disasters impact mental health in communities.

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