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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3579

Title: Exploring Hurricane Katrina Survivors’ Access to and Benefits of Psychological Services After Hurricane Katrina
Authors: Jones, Charis
Keywords: Public Health;Hurricane Katrina;Psychological Services;Disasters;Survivors
Issue Date: 8-Sep-2011
Abstract: A. Overall Significance of the Study: It is the objective of this project to use Hurricane Katrina as a framework to determine possible methods to improve the utilization of and awareness of psychological services for people at risk for natural disaster. On August 28, 2005 Hurricane Katrina devastated the immediate and surrounding parishes of New Orleans (CDC, 2006). Many people not only lost their homes and jobs, but loved ones (Kessler, Galea, Gruber, Sampson, Ursano, & Wessely, 2008). Although there were first responder resources for those who experienced the disaster, there was a break in the infrastructure of local and government psychological services that were provided (Kessler, et al., 2008). According to Harvard’s Hurricane Katrina Advisory Board, the rate of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following Hurricane Katrina doubled from before the disaster (Kessler et al, 2008). It is my hope to gain a better understanding for why people did not take advantage of the psychological services that were made available to the survivors of the Hurricane. In so doing, the barriers between those in need of services and those that actually received the provided services will be lessened and reviewed more closely. This is vital as it can help future victims of natural disasters in receiving all of the necessary services to expedite their recovery time. B. Statement of the Problem: The problem that will be addressed in this study is the low response rate of Hurricane Katrina survivors that effectively used and continued to receive the psychological services intended to assist them. Over 10,000 people in the city of New Orleans alone, lost their homes and jobs (Claritas, 2006). They also became displaced and had no form of communication with their family members (Louisiana Department of Health, 2006). As such, this forced many people to experience hopelessness, frustration, and fear (Kessler et al, 2008). Many government funded programs and agencies were delayed in their response efforts, causing an increased level of stress and doubt among the survivors (U.S. House of Representatives, 2006). C. Significance of the problem, in general and as it pertains to your CBMP site of target population: Thousands of people that were affected by Hurricane Katrina did not receive proper treatment for their psychological complications (CDC, 2006). Those that did seek out psychological services did not maintain their treatments and or appointments (Wang et al, 2008). Furthermore, because there were many issues that people had to manage such as house damage and housing issues, death of a loved one, and unemployment, most victims of the Hurricane did not recognize the priority of mental health (Abramson & Garfield, 2006). In other words, most people were mentally overwhelmed and did not know where to go and who to contact to receive help. To date, there has been some research focused on why people did not use psychological services (Kessler et al; 2008), however this research is very superficial. In other words, most of the research questionnaires only ask one to two questions about if the victim received or maintained psychological services. There are gaps in the literature pertaining to the causal reasoning of why a survivor did not receive, seek out, or maintain the use of psychological services. In addition, most of the post-Katrina studies have been administered as telephone questionnaires, instead of in a focus group format (Kessler, 2006). Therefore, most of the responders were not provided an opportunity to speak freely about their psychological concerns. Also, these previous studies have included Alabama and Mississippi residents that were affected by the effects of Hurricane Katrina and did not solely focus on the residents of New Orleans. This research study is designed to focus specifically on affected residents of the New Orleans Metropolitan Area.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/3579
Appears in Collections:Health Sciences Theses and Dissertations

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