Study: Storm survivors find will to live
Mental health problems roughly doubled in the months after Hurricane Katrina, but thoughts of suicide among those with mental health problems actually decreased, according to a new study. That surprising finding might be due to a high level of optimism and resiliency among survivors, the researchers at Harvard University said.
Nearly 85 percent of the survivors faced a major financial, income, or housing loss, and more than a third endured extreme physical adversity after Katrina struck a year ago and flooded 80 percent of New Orleans, the survey showed. Nearly 23 percent encountered extreme psychological adversity.
About 25 percent reported having nightmares about their experiences -- a figure that rises to nearly 50 percent for people who lived in New Orleans.
Not everyone is convinced by the Harvard findings. The deputy psychiatric coroner in Orleans Parish, La., claims that suicide rates tripled in the months after Katrina. Meanwhile, a New Orleans psychiatrist says that in recent months, many of his own patients seem to have lost hope. Allan Coukell examines the issues for National Public Radio.
Related: Katrina: Then and Now (USA Today photo gallery)
Tags: Katrina Anniversary, Katrina, Hurricane, Mental Health, Media by Sistrunk