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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing
Session: Katrina Related Mental Health Disaster Services for African Americans: Planning for Future Needs and Addressing Unmet Needs
3197.0: Monday, November 06, 2006: 12:30 PM-2:00 PM
Katrina Related Mental Health Disaster Services for African Americans: Planning for Future Needs and Addressing Unmet Needs
In recent days a number of reports have emerged from health officials and health agencies indicating that African Americans in the Gulf Region impacted by Katrina are likely in need of mental health services. Reports of increases in depression, PTSD and anxiety disorders have been observed. Katrina has resulted in enormous psychological strain. Reports of increase in suicides, stress associated with family separations, difficulty by the elderly in rallying the will to move forward under the enormous rebuild efforts have all been reported as contributing to the mental health service needs of Louisiana. Louisiana Department of Mental Health requested a rapid assessment of mental health needs by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Scores of 3 or more on serious mental health indicators represent the need for mental health services. Approximately 46% of those who participated in the assessment process scored 4-5 and were in need of mental health referrals. Approximately 25% scored 7 or more indicating a serious need for immediate mental health services. Inpatient mental health beds in Louisiana were inadequate before Katrina and are predicted now to be much more difficult to find. Combined with these structural difficulties for the provision of mental health services are a number of cultural factors at play that may complicate whether African Americans will seek or utilize mental health services in the face of the Katrina disaster. Several studies indicate that African Americans are less likely to seek specialty mental health services for psychological problems. While studies report they are likely to discuss psychological problems in general medical setting and more likely to seek mental health services when experiencing psychological distress it is unclear in the face of a disaster the magnitude of Katrina whether services, particularly mental health services that are packaged in a culturally competent manner will be available. For many African American’s in need of mental health services, relief is often sought from ministers within church and religious settings if at all. For others considering using mental health disaster counseling, ambivalence has been expressed in bearing their souls to non-minorities. Unfortunately If these mental health needs go untreated they are likely to be a factor in the rebuilding efforts.
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner)in this session will be able to: 1)Discuss Louisiana’s response to Katrina with a focus on the role of African American women, overall mental health needs of the African American community and perspectives on culturally specific mental health preparedness for African Americans. 2) Describe first response for mental health services of Gulf Residents. 3) Describe some tools to reframe the current circumstances for themselves and develop action plans to achieve optimal Health and environmental justice.
Presider(s):Vickie M. Mays, PhD, MSPH
Guy Seymour, PhD
Discussant(s):Leslie Cooper, PhD, MPH, BSN, RN
12:30 PMIntroduction
Vickie M. Mays, PhD, MSPH
12:35 PMBlack women as first responders: Understanding the mental health disaster needs of Louisiana
Cheryll Bowers-Stephens, MD, MBA
12:50 PMCulturally- Competent mental health responses to disaster
Kermit Crawford, PhD
1:05 PMRemembering the clergy as first responders
Rueben Warren, DDS, MPH, DrPH
1:20 PMImportance of collecting data on race, ethnicity and primary language to plan culturally specific mental health disaster responses
Vickie M. Mays, PhD, MSPH
See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.
Organized by:Black Caucus of Health Workers
Endorsed by:Community Health Planning and Policy Development; Latino Caucus; Maternal and Child Health; Social Work
CE Credits:CME, Health Education (CHES), Nursing

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA