The mental health crisis continues. LSU's Health Sciences Center recently conducted a survey of 1,638 school children, grades 4-12, and found that 54 percent of them met the criteria for either Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or depression. The New Orleans Coroner's Office has data that shows the suicide rate in New Orleans has tripled since the storm.
As revealed earlier this year in the cover story, "Psyched Out," the storm not only devastated many in our area psychologically, but it also destroyed many of the mental health services available. And the federal government seemingly decided to ignore this suffering when, as reported by Bill Walsh in the Times Picayune story, "LSU Mental Service Loses Grant," the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration rejected the funding request of LSU Health Sciences Center, which provides an outreach school program for children affected by the disaster.
Sen. Mary Landrieu managed to restore the funding by adding it to the Senate-passed Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education Appropriations bill, H.R. 3043, but Landrieu isn't finished with the feds yet. Today, as chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Disaste Recovery Subcommittee, Landrieu will be holding a hearing on post-hurricane mental health.
The hearing is being held in Washington, D.C., but it is being streamed live on the Internet at http://hsgac.senate.gov and excerpts will be available by satellite and Pathfire DMG later in the afternoon.