NOLA Suicide Rate Triples

From Scout:

Depression is epidemic in NOLA. One effect is the tripling of the suicide rate. From New Orleans City Business.….

Shauna James stood trembling in the kitchen before hanging up the phone. Her mind raced. Her body shivered. Was it true?

She finally slid down the wall to the tile floor where she huddled in a ball crying for more than an hour. A colleague, in deep depression after Hurricane Katrina, had taken his own life.

“I just don’t know what to say,” James said. “This world has messed with us all.”

Her story reflects one of more than 30 suicides in the New Orleans area post-Katrina. Suicide rates have nearly tripled in the 11 months since the Crescent City levees broke, and experts say New Orleans is experiencing an epidemic of depression and post-traumatic stress that crosses all socio-economic lines.

Dr. Jeffrey Rouse, the deputy New Orleans coroner dealing with psychiatric cases, estimates the annual suicide rate at less than nine per 100,000 residents before the storm. It’s since increased to more than 26 per 100,000, he said.

The real number is likely higher, said Dr. Lee Tynes, director of the Jefferson Parish Human Service Agency. Many self-inflicted deaths remain officially unclassified or wrongly described as accidents, he said.

“Plus we don’t even know about the thousands that have evacuated and not returned,” Tynes said. “The enormity of the destruction when somebody returns to find their business gone or employees lost are constant reminders that perhaps play a factor (in depression) that we’ll never know.” (emphasis mine)

One thought on “NOLA Suicide Rate Triples

  1. Katrina Death Toll Passes 4,000

    Based on this new information, we can add the previous toll of 1,723 to the new post-Katrina figure of 2,358 to posit a new unofficial death toll of 4,081. Possible causes of the excess deaths in 2006 include stress, suicide, pollution, contamination…

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