“This study points to a major crisis facing the children of the post-Katrina Gulf Region,” says Irwin Redlener, MD, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and president of the Children’s Health Fund. “From the perspective of the Gulf’s most vulnerable children and families, the recovery from Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans has been a dismal failure.”
"Previous studies have demonstrated a significant increase the prevalence of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder, following Hurricane Katrina, as well as a rise in violence and suicide,” said Italo Subbarao D.O., MBA, deputy editor of AMA’s Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness journal. This study adds further credence to widely accepted views that adults and children affected by catastrophic emergencies can experience up to a 40% increase in mental and behavioral illness."
According to David M. Abramson, Ph.D., MPH, director of research at the NCDP and senior author of the study which looked at the roles of parents and communities in children’s recovery, “Children are completely dependent upon others in their lives to provide the security and stability that will help them recover. This suggests that the many support systems in children’s lives – their parents, their communities, and their schools – are not yet functioning properly. The slow recovery of children’s mental health in Gulf Coast populations is a bellwether indicator of how well the region is recovering.