Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Post-K Depression

A Legacy of the Storm: Depression and Suicide
Cheryl Gerber for The New York Times

NEW ORLEANS, June 20 — Sgt. Ben Glaudi, the commander of the Police Department's Mobile Crisis Unit here, spends much of each workday on this city's flood-ravaged streets trying to persuade people not to kill themselves.

Sgt. Ben Glaudi, commander of the overworked Mobile Crisis Unit for the New Orleans police.

Last Tuesday in the French Quarter, Sergeant Glaudi's small staff was challenged by a man who strode straight into the roaring currents of the Mississippi River, hoping to drown. As the water threatened to suck him under, the man used the last of his strength to fight the rescuers, refusing to be saved.

"He said he'd lost everything and didn't want to live anymore," Sergeant Glaudi said.

The man was counseled by the crisis unit after being pulled from the river against his will. Others have not been so lucky.

"These things come at me fast and furious," Sergeant Glaudi said. "People are just not able to handle the situation here."

Read more.

It's really disheartening to read articles like the above, but it's hardly surprising. It's been nearly ten months and I still have difficulty traveling through Lakeview without my eyes burning.

At first, it was the sheer destruction of things that set off the waterworks. The comic book store I frequented was gone; my friends' houses flooded; my old apartment in Pass Christian completely obliterated. But now, it's lack of visible change that makes me teary-eyed. Sure, there's a few more FEMA trailers, a few more gutted homes, a few more houses that are lit up. But for every one house that's repaired, there's another ten quietly deteriorating.

In this kind of environment, it's difficult not to feel depressed.

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