An article in the latest Annals of Emergency Medicine reports that incidence of suicide attempts among residents in post-Katrina parks are 79 times higher than rates among the general public. The study surveyed residents in 92 different FEMA communities.
NPR has published an interesting radio piece to follow up on
these findings. NPR traveled to Scenic Trails Park in Perkinston, Mississippi. According to the description, Scenic Trails houses about 100 families in a location deep inside the Mississippi woods.
The stories from one park are hardly conclusive. Accounts at Scenic Trails conformed to the notions presented in the study. Several residents did tell the reporter that they had entertained thoughts of suicide.
The surrounding details were no less alarming. They assert that their neighbors use meth and cocaine. In recent months, family pets have come home mutilated. Someone at Scenic Trails fed anti-freeze to a dog.
The article suggests that despair among residents is at least in part linked to a tangible lack of new housing production. It could take several more years, the article suggests, before enough low income housing is built to support the return of the low-wage workers like the ones in Scenic Trails. Most of them had minimum wage jobs on the coast but have been living "A.K" (after-Katrina) isolated from not just work but also their social networks.