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Depression, Anxiety, Stress and the Oil Spill: Who Cares?

I have nothing against oily pelicans or dead turtles. My heart breaks for them. I wince when I see their photos and I applaud the remarkable rescuers who care for and clean them.

We all want to run out and by a bottle of Dawn and start washing birds. But can we please pay as much attention to the humans devastated by the BP oil spill disaster? What have we done to help the people along the gulf? 

3 Comments to
Depression, Anxiety, Stress and the Oil Spill: Who Cares?

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  1. Christine, I read your short on “Drilling Off Cuba…”. Were you just wanting to pick on some conservatives or was there some real substance there. It seams that the body of you article disproves your opening statements. Isn’t driling,going to drill, partnering to drill, planning to drill, leasing to drill soon, all about the same for the foriegn involvment? Are you thinking these other interests will not be drilling?
    It just seamed like a weak shot to name names.

  2. This blog is about depression. If you would like to discuss my article on Cuba you can reach me through the Palm Beach Post website. That is the best forum to answer those questions. Thanks.

  3. I agree with you on many fronts. You’re right, we need to get people to realize the psychological pain the gulf is going through. Depression, anxiety, and PTSD are likely to be on the rise, along with self-injury, substance abuse, and suicide. They deserve to be offered free/reduced psychotherapy or finical aid. Mental Health clinics need to be set up in towns that don’t have them, and hot lines need to be spread in posters and bulletin boards. NAMI and the DBSA need to round up volunteers and bring them down there, just as The Red Cross did during Katrina.

    My only problem with your article is the emphasis on medication. While some may end up needing it, I do not think they are appropriate as a first line of defense in this situation. Do not get me wrong, I am not against medication and use it to manage my Schizoaffective (Bipolar 1 and Schizophrenia combined). I’m on Paxil, Lithium, and Serequel. The people on the gulf, however, are situational and trauma-based depression, which is better treated with psychotherapy, as it focuses on healing the pain caused by BP and the oil spill. In severe cases, yes, they should be used in conjunction; but it bothers me that you act as if should be the first thing considered. That, when you consider that ADs are more effective in severe depression, anyways.

    Don’t respond as if I am an anti-psychiatry or anti-medication annoyance, as I am not. I just believe, and I take from personal experience, that situational and trauma instigated depressive bouts and PTSD are helped more from psychotherapy, and also have a greater chance of complete recovery that way. Use medication if you must; but don’t use it as a first choice when brain chemistry wasn’t the original cause.


  4. I agree with you 100 percent. Medication should not necessarily be the first line of defense. But if it is necessary, the last kind of stress these folks need is worrying how they will pay for a prescription. Some kind of system should be in place now so that if the doctor does prescribe a medication the doctor can also allay the patient’s anxiety by referring him/her to a health center/pharmacy that will provide discounted or free medications. But I am with you and using drugs as a last resort. There are many, many other things that can be used.

  5. Wow-this is a great piece! Thank you for pointing out the unemployment issue. Also, thanks for pointing out the lack of celebrity response–I’ve been wondering about that too. There seems to be far less attention being paid to the hundreds of thousands (perhaps millions, I don’t know) of people directly affected by this disaster than in other disasters, as you so rightly point our.

  6. I agree with you on that. These people should have prescription assistance. I just got the wrong message from your post as it talked more about medication than other options. Glad we see a similar page.

    Just thought I would link you to The Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation’s Flipswitch’s (a podcast for young adults/adolescents with mood disorders) newest podcast, which talks about the gulf and mental health:


  7. Ummm. There are millions of Americans who would greatly benefit from proper mental health care including prescription assistance, discounted/free therapy, and knowing that people care. They just aren’t getting pummeled by oil right now. In fact, Lousisana and many of these areas already had a serious mental health crisis going on, especially after Katrina. I read many articles about how after Katrina there was a huge lack of mental health care and many people were in dire need even before the storm. Not sure where the “therapeutic community” was.

    Perhaps we should really turn this into a movement to create long-lasting, meaningful changes that would provide millions of Americans with permanent mental health care, not just while sludge is showing up on their beaches.

    Also, lets hope Obama is successful at getting that stupid act overturned.

  8. The Gulf oil spill, hurricanes, and the recent heat wave have many searching for answers. The internet is buzzing with articles and excellent blogs. But could it be simply the biblical sequence of God’s wrath being poured out upon the earth which is relevant to current events in today’s world? What if we are dealing with the wrath of God to lead the world trust in Him alone and not the world? God loves you and wants to extend His counsel to you. Please visit my blog at . Author of the book Final Warning

  9. Thank you for this article. As one who is a lifelong resident of Plauemines Parish I see what this is doing to the people here. New Orleans got so much press after Katrina but Plaquemines very litte (because there was no one looting, stealing or shooting one another). Plaquemines was 85% under water after the store. We did what we needed to do to bring our community back, and we helped one another – that ussually doesnt make great headlines. Now here we are again, the oil spill crisis is in our backyard, and front yard. These are good hardworking people here – and they are not getting any services. This place, usually calm and peaceful is a powder keg of stress and anxiety. Unlike after Katrina, people are isolating themselves – and I understand the helpless feeling, one of “there is nothing we can do to help this time”. That feeling adds to the frustration, the anger and contempt raging here. Coastal Heritage SOciety of La. is testing the rainwater falling on our area for vocs/chemicals associtaed with the oil spill. We are collecting food to share with those who have not seen penny one from BP (there are plenty of those) and we are trying to reach out where we can. The depression in this area is staggering and something needs to be done – now. We are looking into some space to perhaps hold a clinic here if we can get enough mental health care workers to pitch in – but it looks bleak too. Our culture in Plaquemines works against us in this regard – we are a strong proud people used to doing for ourselves and not complaining. The mindset is that we will just have to hang tough – tho many are faltering. We are trying to raise money to help – if anyone is interested in buying a t-shirt or making a donation please visit our website and do so. We need all the help we can get!
    Please feel free to contact me from the wesite if you have any questions, comments or ideas.


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