Could kids still be affected by Katrina? - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Could kids still be affected by Katrina?

One of the most traumatic events in recent history for our state was Hurricane Katrina. It's biggest impact could be on the youngest residents.

"The situation is amplified knowing that children are a lot younger, their brain is not as developed," said Dr. Aniedi Udofa, a psychiatrist with Capital Area Human Services District.  

While the physical needs were bad enough, the mental health needs of Katrina victims were overwhelming.  To help survivors cope, FEMA funds were used to create the Louisiana Spirit Hurricane Recovery Program, a temporary crisis counseling resource.

However, some leaders worry not enough was done.

"Some of the funding that definitely was set aside for mental health ended up going to more of the substantive needs; which a lot of times, I think people put mental health on a back burner," said Rep. Regina Barrow, D - Baton Rouge.

Representative Barrow has served on the state Health and Welfare Committee since 2005.  She says our state is in a mental health crisis with too many mental health needs unmet.  She worries the trauma of Katrina could still be impacting our youth today.

"There was nothing really to try and get them back on track.  So some of the things we see happening in the community may be the result of some of those people not receiving the proper attention they needed after a hurricane," said Barrow.

A study by the Children's Health Fund shows that behavior problems among affected kids rose significantly in the years after the storm with kids displaying everything from ADHD to PTSD. Click here for the study.

Udofa says she still sees clients who suffer from anxiety due to Katrina.  The counselor says there is still help out there.

Louisiana Spirit Program is still running.  Click here for more information.

Capital Area Human Services District can help kids as well as adults.  The CAHSD services are available without an appointment.  Click here for more information.

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