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BP Oil Disaster Takes Emotional Toll on Coastal Residents

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  A Gallup Poll released Sept. 28 found a direct correlation between emotional health and Gulf Coast residents' proximity to the BP oil disaster. Residents of five states (Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida) were surveyed. While those living in inland parishes and counties showed no drops in emotional health (defined as stress, worry and/or sadness), more than one-quarter of the residents of gulf-facing parishes and counties reported diagnoses of clinical depression.

  That number tracked a study of Alabama residents by the Centers for Disease Control, which found 23 percent of respondents said at least one family member was dealing with sleeplessness as a result of the disaster.

  In August, BP announced it would provide $52 million in mental health funding to four of the states (excluding Texas) as well as to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The Louisiana Department of Health & Hospitals (DHH) was to receive $15 million, the largest single grant among the states. In July, Alan Levine, then-secretary of the DHH, had requested nearly $29 million from the oil giant. — Kevin Allman

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