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Anxiety and Depression Linger as Mississippi Faces New Hurricane Season

By Rhonda Miller | Published 25 May 2011 01:38pm | comments
Frances Allsup lost her Ocean Springs home in Hurricane Katrina and is still surprised at her reaction to her loss of 400 albums of family photos. Once an avid photographer, now it's nearly impossible for her to take a picture.

As the June first start of hurricane season approaches, the emotional debris of Katrina is still scattered along the Gulf Coast. MPB’s Rhonda Miller found some who figured out ways to cope, and experts who say catastrophes across the state are keeping anxiety levels high.

The disasters devastating Mississippi just keep coming: Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill, killer tornadoes, the flooding Mississippi River. So many lives, communities and homes lost.

Frances Allsup lost her Ocean Springs home in Katrina. She’s still surprised at her reaction to what might seem a relatively small loss.

"Albums, tons of them, probably 400. It's hard for me to take a picture now. It’s like this gut-wrenching feel in my stomach," Allsup said.

But she’s rebuilt her life and kept what co-workers call her sunny disposition. But some haven’t been able to bounce back.

Sherman Blackwell is executive director of Singing River Services, a mental health center in Gautier. He says hurricane season can trigger painful emotions.

"Maybe in December they’re not thinking about the loss of a child, or a family member, or a pet, but now those memories are going to come bubbling back up," Blackwell said.

Residents of the Gulf Coast have been especially hard hit over a long time. Blackwell says that can wear you down, emotionally.

"It’s easier, well, it’s not always that easy, to replace the physical things, than get back on the emotional track. A lot of things that were lost have an emotional value," Blackwell said.

And Lt. Gov. Phil Bryant said to reach out to those who may not ask for help.

"Be concerned about that teenager who is at home dealing with anxiety, dealing with depression. Because you see those teenage suicides mounting, particularly in times of great stress," Bryant said.

The 2011 Hurricane season is predicted to be an active one. That could mean another season of great stress.

Images

Frances Allsup lost her Ocean Springs home in Hurricane Katrina and is still surprised at her reaction to her loss of 400 albums of family photos. Once an avid photographer, now it's nearly impossible for her to take a picture.


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