St. Charles Health Center sees rise in mental problems post-Katrina
According the James Comeaux, Chief Project Officer of Behavioral Health for the St. Charles Community Health Center, the center is seeing an influx of patients seeking mental health treatment.
In the months previous to Hurricane Katrina, the Mental Health program attracted only a small number of patients. Since Katrina, the center has expanded their doctor days from 2 to 4 days a week to meet the increasing demand.
Some of the issues that the Mental Health staff have encountered over the last few months have been mild depression, high anxiety, nightmares, fatigue, and in some cases Post Traumatic Syndrome (PTSD). There have been several suicides regionally. Also, there has been an increase in one-car accidents resulting in single fatalities, raising questions as to whether the individuals were attempting suicide.
"Another issue we have dealt with is patients that have been off their psychiatric drugs or medical drugs, such as insulin, for days or even months after the storm. Without their daily dosages, over time, they can become severely depressed or in some cases sick," said Comeaux.
Some residents in the area are displaced and do not know where or how to obtain their medications. In these cases, the center offers services that can help provide the medications to the patients. "We find that people still don't know that these services are available, and we see patients regardless of their financial status," said Comeaux.
"Residents are just now beginning to realize how the stress of the hurricane has affected their lives. Here at the center, we have seen people having more frequent problems. Many people are starting to realize that they may be in a FEMA trailer for quite awhile and that getting back to normalcy may take longer than expected. They have questions: Where will I end up? Where will I go after leaving the FEMA trailers? These are all thoughts that contribute to mental health issues," said Comeaux.
The Mental Health Services at St. Charles Community Health Center is starting groups and will offer special counseling for patients that have been affected by the extreme stress associated with the Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath.
Residents can access the information and crisis hotline by dialing 211. For general information, dial 411 or contact the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). These numbers can be accessed by land-based phone lines or with cellular service.
Subscribe Today and Save!!!
St. Charles Herald-Guide is an award-winning newspaper that covers all aspects of St. Charles Parish - from schools and parish government news to social events, features on our local residents and sports.
Order your subscription today!
Playing at St. Thomas Aquinas in Hammond, despite being the lower seed and earning...
The St. Charles Herald-Guide lost a co-founder, fellow writer and matriarch last...
Federico “Fred” Martinez, chief executive officer of St. Charles Parish Hospital...
At 93 years old, Ellis Verdin is an inspiration – literally.
It was Wayne Abadie’s opportunity to work in “plarn,” but also to use this plastic...
Food, bands and carnival games will all be featured at this weekend’s Little Red...
At Saia Auto Consultants, our ultimate goal is to get you the highest quality vehicle for your money.
St. Charles Parish voters will decide millions in taxes - 577 views
It’s a crowded May 2 ballot with four tax propositions going before St. Charles Parish voters calling for sewer system improvements, a hurricane protection levee, school upgrades with a performing arts center and assistance for the financially-strapped ARC of St. Charles.