Thursday, November 01, 2007

Two Years Later


It's quiet here at Shrink Rap. I've been watching the sidebar poll on sleep
meds (trazodone is winning) and ClinkShrink came over to eat pizza and hand out candy yesterday. I think I graced the trick-or-treaters with a "one for you, one for me" technique that left me with a very pleasant chocolate buzz. Roy is under the floorboards, or so I've been told. He'll come out soon, I imagine, to a burst of posts and I can't wait to hear how our podcast sounds with all the new equipment.

So two years ago at this time, I headed off to Baton Rouge as part of
SAMHSA's Katrina Assistance Project. I spent two weeks there in what was a moving experience (read about it here), but somehow it seems so very long ago. So long ago, that I forgot about it until I was surfing this evening and came across a piece on KansasCity.com about storm victims who still live in FEMA trailers and how the rate of suicide attempts among trailer occupants is 79 times the national average. 79 times. Old news, I suppose, as it was reported in the Spring in the Annals of Emergency Medicine (not on my hit list) and Alix Spiegel, who's done a number of NPR pieces on Mental Health issues in Katrina victims, did a story on this back in August. See the the NPR story here. Coming across the KansasCity.com story, complete with photos of a trailer park, was a jarring reminder to me what was. Ancient history to me, but I sat in those trailers, talked to those storm victims, wondered if I was helping, believed then that their lives would get better. For all I know, all those people are in the same place, in the same trailers, struggling the same struggles, though I imagine when two months have turned into two years, the element of Hope gets lost. The rates of depression are apparently seven times the national average, and 79 times the rate of suicide attempts is hard to imagine. For me, I'm suddenly and unexpectedly revisiting images, feelings, people, that I hadn't planned on thinking about tonight.