Information regarding Hurricane Katrina
We would like to express our support and concern for the victims and survivors of Hurricane Katrina. This disaster, which has affected millions of people in the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, is unprecedented in recent U.S. history with respect to property damage. The death toll is unknown, as is the numbered of injured, but both are likely to be large. Hundreds of thousands of people have sustained major damage or destruction of their homes, and it has been estimated that it will take months or even years to restore normalcy to many of the affected communities. Particularly in the city of New Orleans, there has been a massive failure in providing survivors with basic necessities such as food, water, shelter, and physical safety.
The pictures of physical devastation, anarchy, and suffering among survivors are disturbing and heartbreaking to us all. As traumatic stress experts, we feel as angry, disturbed, and helpless as most people do while we see this continuing catastrophe unfold. However, we believe that our role as experts includes attempting to transcend these emotions by providing accurate information to help the public, policy makers, and healthcare professionals understand what is happening and how to assist in the emotional recovery process. Therefore, we have put together a list of important considerations and helpful and informative links. These may be helpful to all health care providers because it outlines what a good initial mental health response should be.
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