Storm Stress Leads Some to Suicide - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Rankin County 08/29/06

Storm Stress Leads Some to Suicide

By Maggie Wade
maggie@wlbt.net

In the first few months after Hurricane Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast, volunteers and mental health workers were concerned the suicide rate could reach as high as 85 percent.

We went back to talk with outreach workers who are still going door to door to offer free crisis counseling. What they are finding is that peace of mind is still hard to come by for many of Katrina's victims.  

The grief has been overwhelming for many who lost everything to Hurricane Katrina, like Donna Reddoch.

"Early in the morning when you wake up and you realize its not all a bad dream, its real, and then you go through the day and you know it comes and goes," she says. 

Kaylee Wade is a team leader for Project Recovery.

"From the beginning we just saw a lot of sheer shock," Wade says. "They were just sort of shell shocked. Just, 'This has occurred, and this is my life.'"

A year after the devastating storm, outreach workers with Project Recovery are still finding people who need help.  Jennie Hillman is the Executive Director of Project Recovery.

"We've gotten 10 calls recently from people living in their cars, people living in a tent, living under a bridge," Hillman says. "I just put together some numbers in the last two and a half months we've had 45 serious housing issue calls."

Project Recovery was set up through the State Department of Mental Health with FEMA funds to help victims of the storm. They are seeing about 55 hundred new people each week. In Harrison County there have been 20 suicides so far this year. Last year there were a total of 34. Jennie Hillman says the Katrina anniversary and holidays could make more people desperate.

"We've seen 187,000 people during the past year," says Hillman. 

Phone calls come in daily to the crisis line.  Hillman says 25 percent of the suicide calls have come in the last 2 months.

"We get a lot of calls from people that say they're not sleeping well (or) they're having eating disorders," she says. "We've gotten a rise in the number of domestic violence calls. We've gotten many calls about substance abuse."

BoNita Harris is the Help Line supervisor.

"Yesterday I had a man to call and say that he was living on a barge," she says. "He was at a shipyard and he was about to be put off the barge but he had been living there for two weeks."

It's a dangerous job. Hillman says outreach workers never know what they may find.

"We've had dog bites, we've had snake bites," she says. 

Survivors are being encouraged to use this anniversary to celebrate strengths, to reflect on the positive things that have happened, to focus on rebuilding their lives and communities. That has been hard for Donna Reddoch.

"We talk about it, but we can't decide what we're gonna do," she says. 

Crisis workers also say the most important thing survivors can do is to ask for help when they need it and recognize the healing process will take time.   

Project Recovery currently has 350 outreach workers, most of them on the Gulf Coast. The crisis line is open seven days a week, 24 hours a day. For help you can call 1-866-856-3227.

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

    Survivors recount deadly Missouri duck boat sinking

    Saturday, July 21 2018 12:18 AM EDT2018-07-21 04:18:54 GMT
    Saturday, July 21 2018 6:24 PM EDT2018-07-21 22:24:17 GMT
    (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel). People pray outside Ride the Ducks, an amphibious tour operator involved in a boating accident on Table Rock Lake, Friday, July 20, 2018 in Branson, Mo.(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel). People pray outside Ride the Ducks, an amphibious tour operator involved in a boating accident on Table Rock Lake, Friday, July 20, 2018 in Branson, Mo.

    More than half of the 17 people killed when a tourist boat sank on a Branson lake were members of the same Indiana family, and they likely wouldn't have been on the ill-fated trip but for a ticket mix-up.

    More >>

    More than half of the 17 people killed when a tourist boat sank on a Branson lake were members of the same Indiana family, and they likely wouldn't have been on the ill-fated trip but for a ticket mix-up.

    More >>
  • SC dentist has ladies flocking for teeth cleanings after 'In My Fillings' challenge

    SC dentist has ladies flocking for teeth cleanings after 'In My Fillings' challenge

    Friday, July 20 2018 1:53 PM EDT2018-07-20 17:53:18 GMT
    A South Carolina dentist has officially won the Drake-inspired  "In My Feelings" challenge and the ladies of the internet are letting it be known that they must go to the dentist immediately. (Source: Constantine Dental/Facebook)A South Carolina dentist has officially won the Drake-inspired  "In My Feelings" challenge and the ladies of the internet are letting it be known that they must go to the dentist immediately. (Source: Constantine Dental/Facebook)
    A South Carolina dentist has officially won the Drake-inspired  "In My Feelings" challenge and the ladies of the internet are letting it be known that they must go to the dentist immediately. (Source: Constantine Dental/Facebook)A South Carolina dentist has officially won the Drake-inspired  "In My Feelings" challenge and the ladies of the internet are letting it be known that they must go to the dentist immediately. (Source: Constantine Dental/Facebook)

    A South Carolina dentist has officially won the Drake-inspired  "In My Feelings" challenge and the ladies of the internet are letting it be known that they must go to the dentist immediately.  

    More >>

    A South Carolina dentist has officially won the Drake-inspired  "In My Feelings" challenge and the ladies of the internet are letting it be known that they must go to the dentist immediately.  

    More >>
  • 'Look down before you sit': Snake slithers into man's toilet

    'Look down before you sit': Snake slithers into man's toilet

    Saturday, July 21 2018 1:07 PM EDT2018-07-21 17:07:21 GMT
    Saturday, July 21 2018 3:45 PM EDT2018-07-21 19:45:34 GMT
    The pet ball python had gone missing weeks prior. Luckily no one was bitten in the rear.  (Source: WTRK/CNN)The pet ball python had gone missing weeks prior. Luckily no one was bitten in the rear. (Source: WTRK/CNN)

    The pet ball python had gone missing weeks prior. Luckily no one was bitten in the rear. 

    More >>

    The pet ball python had gone missing weeks prior. Luckily no one was bitten in the rear. 

    More >>
Powered by Frankly