Hurricane Katrina is the costliest disaster this nation has ever seen. And those costs are just as mental as they are monetary. When the levees broke, flood waters poured into 80 percent of the city, wiping out entire communities. Loved-ones were lost, family members separated and pets left behind.
Recovering after such a life-shattering event takes time. A shortage of mental health services, and medical services in general, only adds to the burden. Psychologists described efforts to help, services needed and lessons to be learned from Katrina, at APA's 2006 Annual Convention.
They reported seeing a city in pain, but also one with resolve to bounce back. Downtown, you see signs of that resolve. Construction crews are revamping Canal Street. Crowds throng Bourbon Street at night. And every day restaurants reopen in the French Quarter.
Psychologists at the convention sought to fuel that resiliency with a host of volunteer activities. Some of these efforts included donating supplies to schools and funds to libraries, holding a community fair promoting mind/body health, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, and helping to rehabilitate stranded animals. Read on.