Mental health in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina: Science to Practice

Madrid, Paula

This article talks about the programs that were developed post-Katrina in accordance with the mental health facilities and care programs.
The Children’s Health Fund was funded 20 years ago to provide medical services to underserved children and families through mobile units. We have found mobile units to be effective ways of delivering services to people in need post-trauma or post-disaster as well as for primary care. The mental health component had not been a part of it, and I will tell you about how we began that post-9/11. As far as a public health agenda, we also felt that there was a need to make sure that the work we do is informed by research, by an understanding of what happens post-trauma, and also by a desire to understand more how can we do this in a better way next time. So research and evaluation have always been an important component of what we do.
We currently have three programs in the Gulf Coast, one in Mississippi and two in Louisiana. They are comprised of a mental health unit and a medical unit. The units are big blue vans that go to places where we have identified need, and they park in sites of need, and medical and mental health professionals provide services. We use electronic records, so that is one way in which we are able to serve people who might need to move or who do not know exactly where they will be. Our goal is to serve as a “medical home.”

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Also Published In

Mental health in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina
The Carter Center Mental Health Program

More About This Work

Academic Units
National Center for Disaster Preparedness
Published Here
January 4, 2013