One of the most pressing, but less obvious problems created by a disaster of the magnitude of Hurricane Katrina is the rise of mental health issues. Mental health consequences, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, run deep and linger for months, sometimes years, after a disaster, varying in intensity and duration based upon the individual. Operation USA’s long-term commitment to an ongoing relief effort has been largely focused in this area.
The Children’s Bureau of New Orleans (CBNO) was founded in 1892 to provide specialized programs for children and families in the greater New Orleans area, with an emphasis on mental health, child welfare and advocacy. The devastation wrought by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita was particularly acute for the children of New Orleans. CBNO has been a local leader in providing mental health care for children and families in low socio-economic status with pre-existing problems that were exacerbated by the devastation.