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Narayan Sastry photo

One year later: mental illness prevalence and disparities among New Orleans residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina

Publication Abstract

Sastry, Narayan, and Mark VanLandingham. 2009. "One year later: mental illness prevalence and disparities among New Orleans residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina." American Journal of Public Health, 99(Suppl 3): S725–S731.

OBJECTIVES:

We examined whether there were high levels of mental illness among displaced New Orleans, LA, residents in the fall of 2006, 1 year after Hurricane Katrina. METHODS:

We used data from the Displaced New Orleans Residents Pilot Study, which measured the prevalence of probable mild or moderate and serious mental illness among a representative sample of people who resided in New Orleans at the time of the hurricane, including people who evacuated the city and did not return. We also analyzed disparities in mental illness by race, education, and income. RESULTS:

We found high rates of mental illness in our sample and major disparities in mental illness by race, education, and income. Severe damage to or destruction of an individual's home was a major covariate of mental illness. CONCLUSIONS:

The prevalence of mental illness remained high in the year following Hurricane Katrina, in contrast to the pattern found after other disasters. Economic losses and displacement may account for this finding as well as the disparity in mental illness between Blacks and Whites.

DOI:10.2105/AJPH.2009.174854 (Full Text)

PMCID: PMC2774198. (Pub Med Central)

Country of focus: United States of America.

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