New hurricane threat adds to 2020 stress; mental health experts offer some advice

sandbags(rob masson)
Updated: Oct. 5, 2020 at 9:24 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - People along the Louisiana coast are keeping a watchful eye on tropical storm developments, with many saying, “Here we go again.” After a summer of multiple storms and viral threats, many say they’ve had enough; mental health experts are worried.

“It’s typical 2020. Everything that can go wrong is still going wrong,” said Anthony Chatters of New Orleans.

“The uncertainty continues and it’s very difficult and now on top of that this is the fourth major storm in the Gulf headed our way,” said LSU Health psychologist, Joy Osofsky, PhD.

At Dmac’s in Mid City, the sandbags from Marco, Laura, and Sally remain in place and they will stay there until hurricane season officially ends at the end of November.

“I’m just over it. I’m ready for some peace and quiet,” said Roy DeBoisblanc of New Orleans.

“That kind of fear and anxiety leads to mental health symptoms, depression, and post-traumatic stress syndrome,” said Osofsky.

Rita and Roy DeBoisblanc try to enjoy a picture perfect October day even though forecasters say a hurricane could pound Louisiana Friday.

“Please pay attention to it because even though it’s cooler, we’re still in hurricane season,” said Governor John Bel Edwards.

Anthony Chatters says if evacuation is warranted, he’s leaving and has already gassed up his car.

“My family is the world to me. If it comes close to New Orleans, we’re getting out of here. I’m not taking any chances,” said Chatters.

“I think it’s important that people be prepared. We don’t know where the storm is going, but they need to be prepared to be safe. They may be tired, but it’s very important as well,” said Osofsky.

Many say they survived Katrina and other storms, and they don’t want to do it again.

“It’s enough. I’ve had enough of the hurricanes. It’s a little overwhelming,” said Rita.

Dr. Osofsky advises all to take a breath, make preparations, and reach out if the stress is too much.

“Get on the telephone and call a friend and say, ‘I need help,’” she said.

Osofsky says there are several hotlines to help those in need, including one set up by LSU Health Sciences as we prepare for another possible storm threat. That number is 504-228-6196.

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