Although the hurricane itself dissolved two years ago, the storm is still raging inside the minds of people who lived through it. Studies show alarming increases of depression, anxiety, divorce, domestic abuse and drug use among hurricane survivors of every socioeconomic class.
According to medical reports, at least 20 percent of the population is suffering from delayed post-traumatic stress disorder. Locals have even come up with a term for the poor memory, poor concentration and disrupted sleeping patterns they suffer—"Katrina Brain."
Chris Rose, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated columnist in New Orleans, wrote the book 1 Dead in Attic. Although he has no history of mental health problems, Chris is one of many Gulf-area residents who eventually found himself on the edge. "I've had a number of friends kill themselves since the storm. I now understood why people did such things."
Chris received psychiatric treatment, but many residents of the city are not so fortunate. According to The Journal of the American Medical Association, the number of psychiatrists in New Orleans has dropped from approximately 200 before Katrina to just around 20 in August 2007. But while the number of doctors has dramatically decreased, the need for help has not. A recent Annuals of Emergency Medicine study shows that suicide attempts in Louisiana and Mississippi FEMA parks are 79 percent above the national average.