Survey: 23 PERCENT Gulf residents suffer with “mild to moderate mental illness” after oil disaster

Editorial: In spill’s wake, help for mental illness is critical, Press Register, September 12, 2010:


In a post-oil spill survey conducted in the four-state region by Louisiana’s Ochsner Health System, meanwhile, 12 percent of the respondents in Mississippi reported suffering from serious mental illness. Twenty-three percent indicated they suffered from mild to moderate mental illness in the wake of the disaster. …

We didn’t ask for the disaster that began April 20 when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded. The oil spill gutted demand for seafood, throwing fishermen and processors out of work. Tourists stayed away, threatening generations of businesses. Real estate sales dried up just when it had seemed things were starting to turn around…

Beyond money, there’s identity. Take the coastal fishing communities, for example. As folks along the Gulf of Mexico know, fishing is more than a profession; it’s a way of life. Losing one’s way of life can do serious damage to a person’s dignity and self-esteem.

Read the editorial here.

4 comments to Survey: 23 PERCENT Gulf residents suffer with “mild to moderate mental illness” after oil disaster

  • kingfish

    One of the reasons for denying a man 2nd amendment rights is mental instability. So what might be going on here.

  • sam

    Isn’t it true that under the Feinberg rule, mental illness is not covered by BP?

    Here is an article from Psychology Today arguing for mental illness to be viewed as a physical injury, since it actually does make measurable physical changes to the brain…

    Mental Health and the Spill: Let’s Stop Discriminating | Psychology Today”

  • sam

    Sorry, here’s the link and a quotation from the article:

    “As BP claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg begins this week to compensate victims for injuries caused by the catastrophic oil spill, mental health and substance use conditions won’t be included unless they are directly related to a physical injury sustained as a result of the spill.

    That’s discriminatory and continues to perpetuate a damaging and incorrect notion that mental health and addiction conditions are not real diseases with an organic basis. Mr. Feinberg said last month that mental health claims would only be paid if they were caused as a result of a physical injury. While that view may be supported by centuries-old principles of common law, it is inconsistent with our current understanding of the organic correlates of mental health and addiction conditions.

    We know mental illnesses are physical illnesses. Disorders related to toxic stress cause measurable changes in brain function and architecture. Brain damage is a physical injury. There is no meaningful distinction between other somatic injuries and brain damage resulting from the toxic stress of trauma. Stressful and traumatic events like the oil spill, its resulting loss of livelihood and a very uncertain future can lead to the emergence or worsening of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other related illnesses….”

  • We have had a number of individuals come to us since the spill reporting dizzyness , disorientation and as you point out ,memory loss and some kind of mental decline.This needs to be made public and someone (BP?) should be held to account


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