More Gulf Coast Residents Have Suicidal Thoughts

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Suicidal Thoughts

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An increased number of Gulf Coast residents have experienced suicidalthoughts or symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder as the recoveryfrom Hurricane Katrina continues, according to the preliminary resultsof a new survey, the AP/Los Angeles Times reports.

For the survey, Ronald Kessler, lead researcher for the Hurricane Katrina Community Advisory Group at Harvard Medical School,and colleagues interviewed about 800 of 1,000 Louisiana, Mississippiand Alabama residents who responded to a similar survey conducted aboutsix months after the hurricane, which occurred on Aug. 29, 2005. Thelatest survey, funded by NIH,found that about 6% of respondents reported suicidal thoughts, comparedwith about 3% previously. In addition, the survey found that 21% ofrespondents reported symptoms of PTSD, compared with 16% previously.

Kesslersaid that a general optimism in the months after the hurricaneprotected many Gulf Coast residents from suicidal thoughts. However, hesaid that optimism among Gulf Coast residents has decreased because therecovery from the hurricane has not met expectations (McConnaughey, AP/Los Angeles Times, 8/21). Researchers last week released the preliminary results of the survey to USA Today (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 8/16).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. Youcan view the entire Kaiser DailyHealth Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email deliveryat kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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