Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Katrina Victims Need Our Help from "Infliction of Emotional Distress"

"It's like living in the Twilight Zone," said Candace Cutrone, who as assistant coroner for mental health in Orleans Parish has the overwhelming task of evaluating psychiatric cases for local hospitals. "The whole world changed overnight."

Orleans Parish coroner Frank Minyard said he does not have statistics for the city, because many deaths -- including nine by gunshot -- remain a mystery. He knows of at least one woman who killed herself recently. New Orleans emergency personnel have responded to at least six suicides and nearly two dozen suicide attempts since Katrina. The tightly knit community of Academy of the Sacred Heart, the Rosary, is coping with two suicides, headmaster Timothy M. Burns said. Shortly before Thanksgiving, a woman with young children took her life. Last week, the father of a Sacred Heart student was buried.

And with so few medical services available in the region and the slow pace of rebuilding, experts expect the psychological toll to grow far worse.

"I think the whole city's grieving," said Alvin M. Rouchell, chairman of the psychiatry department at the Oschner Clinic Foundation in neighboring Jefferson Parish. "I've seen a lot of post-traumatic stress disorder. People who had emotional disorders before the hurricane have a worsening of conditions, and some people for the first time are having panic attacks, depression, PTSD."

Calls to a national suicide-prevention hotline skyrocketed from the typical 100 to 150 a day to more than 900 in the immediate aftermath of Katrina before leveling off to about 210 a day now, said Charles G. Curie, administrator of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

In a clinical survey of Orleans and Jefferson parishes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 45 percent of the residents were experiencing "significant distress or dysfunction" and 25 percent had an even "higher degree of dysfunction," said Dori Reissman of the CDC. Nearly half of those interviewed reported feeling isolated, and a quarter believe at least one family member needs counseling. On Wednesday, the Bush administration plans to distribute public service announcements to 11,000 media outlets advertising a confidential toll-free number for individuals or family members who may have been psychologically impacted by the storm and its aftermath.

Can we "NOT now SEE" from this example how the effects of a neg Family Law legal action can ruin good lives and certainly "take its toll" by having a very neg impact on a child and non-custodial parent alike? - especially when they are separated and affected so adversarial in this process - and by the current legal system of Family Law in place?

Do we "NOT now SEE" the need for helping those in this relief effort with keeping families strong and bonded together? - not devastated by the dis-ruption of communication and the bonds established between a parent and a child so loved by them - simply due to continued needless court action(s) - and pass legislation that encourages those custodial parents involved to do the right thing too...for our children...?

Isn't it time WE SEE that based on our nations founding fathers documents that - We as a people come together and "Be a Part of the Solution - Making a Difference" and helping to care enough to want to Save lives - and not continue the arguments which injure them and we "NOW" know is both a violation of moral and sound judgement?

Stephen Rene - Being a Part of the Solution - "for a change" - Making HealthCare Affordable - "for a change"
Donation of 10% of ALL NEW member Sign ups are being provided to help with the re-building and positive efforts needed for those in the area's affected.

Click here to become a NEW HealthPlan Member

Thank you -

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