The shelters may not be the answer for all under the Pontchartrain Expressway…

Because this too, is what community looks like...
This too, is what community looks like…

Like many of you, I have been reading about the coming forced evacuations of the 120 plus homeless people who currently reside nightly underneath the Pontchartrain Expressway in downtown New Orleans. City officials began handing out 72 hour notices on Monday evening, citing health violations, safety concerns and drug use as parts of the problem which are necessitating this move. Outreach workers will be on hand to help steer people into the shelters, where resources and case management will be made available to assist people in finding more suitable, long term housing.

Sounds like a win-win on its surface: resources made available for people who need it and the city doesn’t have to worry about a growing health and safety problem…but you just know it’s not that simple.

People aren’t that simple, much as we might want them to be.

So then, why might somebody choose the streets of New Orleans, choose to live under an overpass instead of a shelter with resources?

1. Shelters have rules and curfews. Oftentimes, dismissive types claim homeless people don’t like shelters because the curfews and rules prevent people with addictions from getting drunk or high. And for some, that may very well be a part of it but that’s not the whole story. First off, not all homeless people are addicted to substances. Second, people also bristle at curfews and rules because homelessness doesn’t suddenly instill in people the desire to give up their freedoms. They are adults, and most adults don’t want to answer to strangers, be told what to do, when to eat, where and when to sleep, what time to be at the shelter and when it is too late for them to leave, or lose their bed. A loss of so many freedoms most of us take for granted can be a pretty demeaning feeling in an already often demeaning situation, feeling less than, stigmatized, not in control of your own situation…out on the streets, there’s still an element of control, of making independent choices most adults I know would be loathe to give up. Can’t sleep and want to go for a walk, have a smoke, make a phone call? Curfews and rules might say nope.

2. The men and women who live under the overpass have formed a community, one that could be broken up in a shelter. No communities are perfect and some can be dangerous and certainly, with assaults and sexual exploitation that have been documented under the Pontchartrain Expressway, this community has its dangers, but it is a community. People there look out for each other, know each other, know when someone’s not doing well and sometimes even care for one another. That’s what people do. To many, this community is a known and it’s voluntary inasmuch as there is a choice on whether or not to be in that community. There are understandings there, and to go into the shelters is to give this up and put yourself at the mercy of the unknown. There may be someone in the shelter somebody has a past with, somebody that makes another feel threatened or unsafe. It can be a very hard choice.

3. What about their belongings? Most shelters, due to space restrictions, have set limits on how many belongings you can bring through their door. When you’re homeless, oftentimes the stuff you have with you is what you have left of your present and former identity. On the streets, there are no restrictions upon how much you can bring with you and to be told by strangers what is necessary for you to have and what is expendable, that anything outside of two bags is superfluous and to be told you need to go through your possessions and decide what to keep and what to throw away is extraordinarily difficult for anyone who has already lost so much.

4. In the shelters there may be issues with staff treatment. Let me say first that I can only believe the vast majority of people who work in the shelters do so because they care, because they really want to help and work very hard, but having myself worked in shelters it is a fact not everyone is like this. There are predators. There are abusive staff. In San Francisco, staff like this were called “jailers.” They exist, and they can do a number of things to shelter residents. Curse them out. Kick them out arbitrarily. Coerce favors for perks at the shelter…use your imagination. It isn’t a regular occurrence I’m sure, but it happens. And if you are a shelter resident it happens to, it can be extraordinarily damaging.

5. The shelters have time limits, and many of those time limits are short. Three weeks at the New Orleans Mission. Ten days at Ozanam. That is not enough time to fix the kind of problems that lead to homelessness. Now, at some shelters, people do have options for more time, up to a year if they are in mental health or substance abuse programs and for some that may be precisely what they need to right what needs righting, but not everybody is ready to accept that kind of help. Not everyone thinks they have a substance abuse problem and many with mental health issues may dislike the stigma that comes with treatment, adding to the stigma of being homeless or they may not think they need treatment at all, have a lack of insight or be against medications. Mental health and substance addiction are very complex issues and when combined they can be that much more so. And with these time limits, where do people go when they time out? Back to the shadows of the overpass? Maybe to a different neighborhood or city, or to jail?

6. Many of these shelters charge nightly, some upwards of ten dollars a night. One can go to various churches and get fee waivers, but it’s difficult to cart your belongings from one place to another to get a waiver, then back to the shelter at night and in the morning, have to leave the shelter all day, still carrying belongings. It’s more loss of autonomy and more answering to others. Either that or you can pay the ten dollars a night, money many don’t have so they are  then forced to panhandle to get. With all of this, it can be easier, freer, more autonomous and independent to stake out a spot on the streets and just stay there. Not ideal obviously, but for some it can seem a better choice.

Now, as a social worker for the past twenty plus years I do feel that some of the people who are forced out of the homeless encampment will get a chance to do something different, maybe get treatment or mental health help, maybe even housing and that is certainly a win for them, especially in the long run but I also feel some won’t be ready for these steps. Some have been on the streets so long to try to acculturate themselves back into a life away can be difficult. Mental illness can make it more difficult. Mental illness and addiction, even more so. Some just won’t be ready.

It should seem obvious the people living under the expressway are doing so for a reason. You may not understand what those reasons are or even disagree with them, but that makes these reasons no less real or valid. Rather than kicking them out, why not continue to provide outreach, outreach, outreach while helping them to be safe, right where they are until that outreach leads to a home, or until they are ready to face any problems they might have. If there are public health issues, clean it up, or provide incentive for the people staying there to clean it up themselves. Provide waste disposal, port-a-lets, whatever’s necessary. Bring the solutions to them and put in the time to make it work, take hold for real. If worried this might lead to people never wanting to leave, find out exactly why it is they want to live under an overpass rather than their own home and work towards solutions to these wants. Find the bigger and better deal and present it to them. It may cost more, but it sure will be more effective in the long run and isn’t helping people the point of all this? If not, it should be, unless this really is being done because of neighbor complaints, pending Saints games at the Superdome or because some consider their fellow citizens, people, to be eyesores.

Rather than the police just forcing them out, possibly traumatizing some and then fencing it all up, there should be a mixture of responses here. This is a community, and for now it has become their home. In social work, there is a oft-quoted phrase: “Meet people where they’re at,” which essentially means to provide the amount of help people are ready to accept and help motivate them over time to accept even more.

Forcing them out of their home with a 72 hour notice is not meeting people where they’re at and for some, not the right thing to do at all.

Have a nice day.

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The Deadbeat Dad of New Orleans…

Family night? Oh uh, sorry, I got a thing....
Family night? Oh uh, sorry, I got a thing…

We’ve all heard the term. Typically it’ll refer to a parent who ignores his children, leaves them behind, is aware of, but does little to nothing to care for those in his charge, regardless of consequence. Well, the city of New Orleans has one of the worst deadbeat dads in history and his name is Sheriff Marlin N Gusman and his charges all occupy New Orleans Parish Prison. By his title of Sheriff, it is his responsibility to ensure the inmates at OPP have their basic needs met, have medical and mental health care and are safe from abuse by both other prisoners and the prison staff and for that matter, his prison staff too should not meet with extraneous violence as a result of the Sheriff’s actions or more presciently, what appears to be his inaction.

By any standard, Gusman is a failure, a deadbeat dad who, federal consent decree or not, seems perfectly (content) unwilling to live up to his parental responsibilities.

From an article in the Advocate by Jim Mustian:

“The outside expert monitoring a court-ordered plan to reform Orleans Parish Prison offered a blistering critique Tuesday of Sheriff Marlin Gusman, blaming the sluggish pace of change at the jail on a lack of leadership and initiative within the Sheriff’s Office.

The expert, Susan W. McCampbell, said she has rejected Gusman’s repeated excuse that city officials haven’t given him enough money to implement a federal consent decree intended to reverse deplorable conditions at OPP that have festered for years.

“The question has been posed to me several times whether it’s an issue of leadership or resources that continues to result in the Sheriff’s Office not moving forward with significant changes,” McCampbell said by phone during a status conference in U.S. District Court. “I really am now believing it’s a leadership issue — not a resource issue.””

Really, well, come on now, how bad could it actually be?

McCampbell added, “The jail is not safe…this isn’t a philosophical conversation about how to move forward. This is an in-your-face, happening, bad, everyday thing going on in the jail.”

So it’s bad then…but that’s just one expert right? I mean there are still in this day and age a couple scientists claiming climate change isn’t happening too. Course, when McCampbell went on to apologize for her frustrations, the US District Judge Lance Africk both empathized and agreed with her and this is the guy in charge of overseeing the consent decree.

Right…bad.

But still, that’s only two people and even deadbeat dads have their defenders which is why I’m sure that Katie Schwartzman, an attorney from the McCarthur Justice Center will correct all of this information, give us the real facts on the case, put us all firmly back in the no-spin zone…and this is precisely what she did when she said in her statement, “The sheriff has been called upon to fix the jail for years…in that time, there have been countless stabbings, sexual assaults and mental-health crises. The violence in our jail spills over into our streets and touches thousands of members of our community. This is not theoretical, it is not hyperbole or academic — people have died in our jail.”

Well, fuck me then.

So that’s three…but Sheriff Gusman, he must have a reasonable explanation for all this, some sort of detailed response with maybe a side of slight contrition to the court for what appears to be a horrible lack of progress in essentially, doing his job. What say you Sheriff types? Let us have it! Tell these bleeding hearts how wrong they are!

“The Sheriff’s Office is committed to moving forward and working with the monitors,” said Sheriff’s spokesman Philip Stelly.

Okay.

That was underwhelming.

Fuck me twice, I guess…

And allow me to be skeptical, because from what I read this department seems best at stalling, then blaming Landrieu, claiming a lack of funds while at the same time refusing to be transparent about the funds already received. Then Gusman offers up expensive solutions to problems of his own creation…case in point, you know how that new jail is supposed to solve so much when it comes to the consent decree? Debatable, but it appears his plans are already creating new ones, like how is it the jail wasn’t designed to house acutely mentally ill inmates? Bit of a design flaw there, and for a $145 million dollar price tag it seems reasonable to expect Gusman’s new jail to have zero design flaws. What gives? I’m assuming Marlin Gusman pays attention to trends which might affect his job, his jail and his responsibilities but maybe not…because if he did, he should be aware that as funds have dried up nationwide for mental health services, jails and prisons are unfortunately becoming the new inpatient hospitals in our current mental health system. Maybe this is something Gusman should have accounted for when spending $145 million dollars for his new fucking jail. And then back to Gusman’s bullshit solution: just relocate mentally ill inmates to a state prison in St. Gabriel. Right, because that’s obviously far less expensive (in transportation costs alone) than just designing your new jail to suit the needs of your own city and department.

Also mentioned in Mustian’s article: this month three jail deputies were stabbed by an acutely mentally ill inmate who was not even housed in the current jail’s psychiatric tier.

Yep.

And that’s not the only problem with this jail, and with the snails pace at complying with the decree. The high incident of violence and poor treatment of inmates is a really bad fucking way to go about rehabilitation, if anything because inmates are people and deserving of certain basic rights and met needs, even in jail…safety being one of the most important. Some on the outside though, politicians especially might disagree with this, instead opting to go all tough on crime and dismissing the prisoners’ humanity, dismissing the violence and making jokes about rape…jokes, all of which are nothing more than easy bumper-stickers and platitudes that crumble in the face of real blood spilled on a concrete floor or the painful reality of distraught loved ones on the outside reacting to the abuse or death of their child, father, husband or other member of their family. Furthermore, another real truth the tough on crime types should consider is that all those inmates thrown into the Thunderdome before they turn their back, those inmates do eventually get released back into the city, traumatized and with few options. But let’s say you really don’t care about those incarcerated at all. Do you do care about the prison staff? A dangerous jail is also dangerous to guards and as I said before, everyone eventually gets back to their community, both inmates and staff and the community gets impacted directly or indirectly by this violence. Nobody gets to live in a bubble. A mentally ill individual who is further terrorized can struggle far more reintegrating into society, especially with substandard treatment and no resources, than one who is treated humanely. Also, when outside divisions get brought to life inside the jail by way of violence, that violence will often then perpetuate on the outside. When the very concept of humanity is disregarded, when inmates feel under siege, unsafe and are shown by the system how little control they have over their life, or may ever have, this doesn’t bode well for the inmates, their families and anyone who helps them try to pick up the pieces upon release. The staff too has to live with what they’ve seen and experienced, and that is a hard life, with consequences.

And all of the inaction leading to this, all of this chaos is squarely on the plate of the person hired to prevent it: Marlin Gusman.

Even with a consent decree hanging over his head, it seems Gusman’s best skill set is making excuses about why he hasn’t done much of anything to resolve this mess. He needs to take more responsibility, start being present, start taking care of the inmates and the prison staff. This is his job. He ran for this job. His staff, the inmates, all of their families and the community at large are owed more than just another deadbeat dad, ducking the decree and looking the other way while blaming everyone else for why he isn’t handling his own fucking business. Stop fighting with Landrieu. If you don’t have the funds as you say, open the books and show everyone where the money’s going. Hire people who know how to run a jail and fully staff your department, because an understaffed jail is really fucking dangerous for both the inmates and the staff you do have. Recognize that inmate safety and resources upon discharge are keys in the fight against recidivism. Start acting like you’re taking this seriously and recognize an overall, basic truth: the safer the jail, the safer the city of New Orleans.

Read the article:

Jail Monitor Blasts Gusman for Lack of Progress at OPP

Have a nice day.

Quick legal question about mudholes and assholes…

Tennessee State Rep. Richard Floyd (R)...please, join me in weeping for another in a long line of persecuted Christian white men in America.

So, if a state representative from Tennessee says the following about any possible encounter with someone transgendered in a dressing room:

“I believe if I was standing at a dressing room and my wife or one of my daughters was in the dressing room and a man tried to go in there — I don’t care if he thinks he’s a woman and tries on clothes with them in there — I’d just try to stomp a mudhole in him and then stomp him dry. Don’t ask me to adjust to their perverted way of thinking and put my family at risk. We cannot continue to let these people dominate how society acts and reacts….”

Am I then free to respond by saying to Rep Floyd how it is my sincerest hope I may someday encounter him, outside a dressing room, when someone transgendered tries to enter, so that if he does lay a finger upon this person, I could then lay ten fingers upon him until he is a writhing mass on the ground outside said dressing room?

Or, would saying something like that be illegal, you know, because he holds elected office? Just curious, just asking, because I wouldn’t want to get in trouble for writing what some might construe as a threat to a politician in response to him threatening Tennessee citizens.

So, help me out people…is it wrong to point out another small man, living in fear, whose only courageous act is to brazenly exhibit his worst character traits and utter ignorance when it comes to stepping outside his own, immediate worldview, and then shake my head, annoyed with the abject idiocy of the people some of my fellow citizens deem worthy of holding elected office?

Please, let me know…I don’t need a hassle and I don’t want to break any laws, even by accident.

Have a nice day.

This citizen is officially on overload…Barton potentially chairs house energy panel, and more!

The similarities are eerie...and would explain, so much

You know that post I wrote yesterday?

That whole outreach to your community thing cause its important to know your neighbors in these economic and political times?

Yeah, I still agree with what I wrote – even more now because not even on my most cynical day could I have expected the fantastic amounts of utter shit I had to deal with in the headlines throughout yesterday.

I know I’m not alone in this, but man, how’s a guy supposed to do his job when every time he glances at his computer screen he sees a headline like:

LAWMAKER WHO APOLOGIZED TO BP MAY CHAIR HOUSE ENERGY PANEL

Nope, not kidding at all.

Perhaps a refresher from that most amusing day – I give you, Joe Barton: “I’m ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday,” Barton said. “I think it’s a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown … in this case, a $20 billion shakedown with the Attorney General of the United States….I’m not speaking for anybody else, but I apologize.”

Yeah! Texas!

Joe, I believe I am speaking for a lot of people when I say BP never needed an apology, they needed, and still deserve a set of handcuffs you dumb son of a…hey, did I ever share my Texas theory with the internet? The one that demonstrates how much better this country would have been if we never admitted Texas into the United States? Oh yeah…we’d be in a much better position as a nation if we had just set them up as some sort of perma-colony, you know, reap the benefits of any and all resources while ensuring we’d never had to have suffer through any Bush presidencies, oh, and our school books wouldn’t be globally laughed at, the Dallas Cowboys would never have won a super bowl…hell, Kennedy might even still be alive…but no, no, we get Joe Barton, mistress to every oil company imaginable.

And yesterday in the news, that’s not all…no, far from it…

We also get these two splendid moments of insight from G. W. Bush. Just in case you didn’t know, he did this interview with Matt Lauer which is really shaping up to be quite the Monty Python skit. Lauer asked him what the worst part of his presidency was…know what he said? Take a guess? Yeah…I know, pretty obvious…it was either 9-11, or maybe watching all those people suffer in New Orleans, waiting for a federal response that was days away…no? Okay, perhaps it was all the dead Americans from all those elective wars, or maybe when they discovered there were no WMD’s? No? Okay, then it has to be his regrets at stripping away the privacy of every American, or the way he tanked the economy or that prison in Iraq where all those people were tortured, or maybe the legitimization of torture itself, or perhaps the increasing consolidation of wealth…no? Okay, was it when he gave the unwanted backrub to the German Chancellor? Tell me it isn’t when he choked on the fucking pretzel?

Nope…no, it was when Kanye West called him a name.

(cough, cough…)

Asshole. I guess there was a definite reason why he wanted to wait until after the elections to release his book and do interviews.

Oh, and then I check headlines later only to discover another little ditty from this dimwit, didn’t you know that on the buildup to the Iraq war, he was a “dissenting voice” on the decision to invade Iraq because he didn’t “want to use force.”

Yeah, seriously.

Oh, but wait…there is so much more…I’m telling you yesterday, after the elections, people just went nuts on stupid…

Okay, so Obama spends the first two years of his presidency caving, caving, caving…believing that for some reason, this time, the Republicans are going to play nice and at least pretend to find a compromise, only to have them collectively turn their back on him at every handshake, every option…every freaking time. So now, the GOP gets a bit of the power back and you know, I guess there was part of me that was like okay, well at least now Obama’ll realize the only way he is going to get things through congress is to strong-arm, humiliate, politically blackmail the elephants until he gets something…maybe he is going to finally show some strength, get up to the podium and tell it like it is…

“Hey Boehner, yeah…climate bill, pass it or I leak the evidence about the dead gay hooker they found in the trunk of your Rolls, man….I didn’t want to go there, but you gave me no choice…”

Nope, not quite, instead we get Obama signaling that he will allow the wealthy to keep their tax cuts and also kill the climate bill.

In addition, he made the promise that he would “work harder” to build consensus with Republicans.

Brilliant. If Obama keeps trying to be everyone’s friend this way, we will windup with Jindal or Palin in the White House…Obama, if you are the only one trying to change the climate of DC, guess what?

And so we go back to climate change…remember all that we’ve been hearing about how these new candidates are furious about spending policies, all the waste, the bailouts, all that cash that’s being just thrown around…well, this new House of Representatives intends to hold hearings, doing an investigation of “climate fraud,” because obviously, 97% of the world’s scientists don’t know the truth the way a hundred congressional morons with no scientific training know the truth, and at the end of the hearings the Tea Party will finally put it to bed, yes America, the earth really is flat.

Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi said she has no regrets and feels her time as Speaker of the House was a “job well done” despite losing her job, and John Boehner feels that the GOP now represents the “voice of the American people” despite not claiming the Senate, despite having Tea Party candidates playing the conservative version of “more punk rock than you,” and beating their establishment candidates in the primaries.

Man, it just kept going…all day…this is a bullshit world they live in.

Glad they all seem to be okay with it.

Me?

As I said…I’m on overload…this is going to be a long few years…and as I began this, so I will finish…I’m going to spend my time in the community, building, because at least in my neighborhood, if I say something like, “Hey, all my clients went to my boss and demanded I be fired because I was doing such a good job, so I’m feeling good, no regrets at all,” my neighbors won’t just nod, or smile, they’ll look at me like I’m crazy… and they should.

That’s the reality.

Have a nice day.

The Legacy of Katrina Study – The Kids Aren’t Alright

Another legacy from Katrina

As a social worker, you develop a really dark sense of humor, a mindset often used as a coping mechanism for some of what you see and the stories you hear. During Katrina, I was living on the West Coast and at conferences, or in simple conversations with co-workers a statement I heard more than any other went something like this: “New Orleans? Jesus, that whole city’s going to have PTSD.”

And while out in the cozy confines of California with its progressive funding of help for those in need (at least before Schwarzenegger and the recession) many there assumed that in New Orleans, people would be taken care of, programs would be set up for counseling or whatever else might be needed to assist the residents both in the city and displaced. It would simply be the right thing to do, the moral thing.

When this line of reasoning was presented to me, I would often ask if they had ever been to New Orleans, especially beyond the confines of the French Quarter? I would say I was no expert on the city, but I cautioned how this “assumed” help would not be the case. Even before Katrina and the flood, the social service systems in the city were bad, with poor funding.

“How bad?” They would ask.

I’d just kinda shake my head.

And five years later, one can effectively conclude that no, not the entire city developed PTSD, but enough of the residents both displaced and returned, did develop enough mental health symptoms to make a social worker’s head spin, especially those social workers who work with children…and the needed help? It didn’t materialize.

“From the perspective of the Gulf’s most vulnerable children and families, the recovery from Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans has been a dismal failure.” – Irwin Redliner, MD, Director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia.

From a new study by the NCDP and a report by the Children’s Health Fund come these key findings:

– Even as long as four and a half years after the event, about 45% of parents report that their children are experiencing emotional or psychological problems that they hadn’t experienced prior to Katrina.

– Children post-Katrina are 4.5 times more likely to have serious emotional disturbance than pre-Katrina. For the purposes of this study, such disturbances were defined as emotional issues, hyperactivity, conduct and problems relating to peers.

– Nearly half of people who had been displaced for over a year by Katrina are still living in unstable conditions.

Dr. Redliner continues: “Affected families need urgent assistance to return to a state of ‘normalcy’ characterized by safe communities and stable housing. Nearly two out of three children affected by Katrina continue to experience serious mental and behavioral problems or the stress of unstable housing or both, with children living in poverty over two times as susceptible to serious emotional disorders. We believe that this represents at least 20,000 children affected by Katrina – and perhaps considerably more. Immediate action needs to be taken to increase mental health services in the region.”

Five years later, this is the case and it is appalling.

I would suspect that with BP’s Catastraphuk, the last thing Congress and the Obama administration want to hear about is Katrina, but these 20,000 kids in Redliner’s estimate? What those who control the purse strings need to realize is, even if they decline to offer help now because of cost, they will be paying for a substantial portion of them eventually. Untreated mental illness in children, especially conduct disorder, often follows predictable paths: substance abuse, criminal thinking, prison.

So why not try to help now, while they still got a chance, as opposed to later in the criminal justice system when the cell block doors slam shut?

And since those in Congress seem to respond best to the money question, here’s a statistic for ya:

In a Houston study, the average cost for mental health treatment and emotional support in 2008 was $1338.99.

The annual cost in 2001 for a prison inmate was almost $23,000 dollars.

Just do the math…I can help if ya like.

Read the article,

‘Legacy of Katrina’ report details impact of stalled recovery on mental health status of children

Have a nice day.

About F’in Time…BP Gives 52 Million Dollars to Fund Mental Health in Gulf Coast

And if you ask nicely, in seven weeks Mr. McKay and BP will be concerned about you too

Give credit where credit is due, and I will..just check back with me in two months and I’ll give British Petroleum all the credit in the world for doing what it is they morally should have done from the beginning.

From Channel 6 News in Houston:

BP announced on Monday a $52 million award to fund behavioral health support and outreach programs across the U.S. Gulf Coast region.

The award will be given to federal and state health organizations. The multimillion funding will help residents link up to support available through providers in their communities and it will be available through local outreach programs and a special toll-free phone line where information on available services will be provided.

“We appreciate that there is a great deal of stress and anxiety across the region and as part of our determination to make things right for the people of the region, we are providing this assistance now to help make sure individuals who need help know where to turn,” said Lamar McKay, President of BP America.

While I welcome this news, the above quote would seem to indicate that Mr. McKay and his corporation never really understood the stress and anxiety of Gulf Cost residents at all. If they had, they might understand that the interminable delays and unwillingness to commit to aiding mental health programs only served to add to the anxiety and stress of everyone involved in providing these services and especially, those in need of them.

Let us not forget what had to happen to get today’s announcement:

Multiple requests had to be made by multiple states (Louisiana, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi) with no response from BP for weeks.

In July, the Executive Director of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), Michael Fitzpatrick, had to call out BP for its irresponsibility in a public, national letter.

Also in July, the Louisiana DHH was forced to advise the US Department of Health and Human Services in a publicly released letter how they’d requested funds from BP to provide much needed services, but were getting nowhere.

So, Mr. McKay, whereas it is appreciated your company finally did the right thing, your grand pronouncement of compassion and care? It rings about as true as the forced apology from a playground bully, right after you finally got busted by the sociology teacher…remember? When you got caught being an asshole?

Read the article

$52 million for behavioral health support across the Gulf Coast region

Have a nice day.

Mental Health on the Gulf Coast…the numbers keep coming…

Tony don't live here

A new survey, conducted between July 19th and 25th by the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia found what most have suspected, confirming the results of the Ochsner survey released last week… people in the Gulf Coast are feeling it. When your livelihoods, culture and earning potentials are taken away or reduced…when your overall quality of life is severely impacted to the point of survival…anxiety is the rule of the day.

Some of the key findings of the study, which included 1,200 coastal residents in Louisiana and Mississippi, with a particular focus on children:

  • Over 40% of the population living within 10 miles of the coast had experienced some direct exposure to the oil spill.
  • Over one-third of parents reported that their children had experienced either physical symptoms or mental health distress due to the spill.
  • One in five households had seen their income decrease as a result of the spill. 8% have lost jobs—and only 5% of coastal residents reported receiving cash or gift cards from BP.
  • Over one-quarter of the coastal residents think they may have to move form the area because of the spill.
  • The poor were hit the most—coastal households earning less than $25,000 a year were more likely to report having lost income than those earning more, more likely to think they would have to move and more likely to report physical and mental health effects among their children.

The finding that strikes me the most here is that 25% of the people surveyed feel they may have to leave the Gulf Coast as a result of the spill. Twenty-Five Percent! It’s outrageous that one-quarter of Gulf Coast residents have had their day-to-day lives so impacted they feel they might have to uproot themselves, their kids…leave neighbors, relatives, schools, friends, meeting places, the water, the parks, the things they know…everything they’ve known as home.

Leave it all because of British Petroleum’s catastraphuk.

And still, to this day…BP’s contribution towards mental health treatment in the Gulf?

Nothing.

Neither BP or Kenneth Feinberg will commit to paying a dime. After all…mental health is not covered under the oil pollution act of 1990.

How many British Petroleum executives have had to leave what they know behind?

Tony Hayward?

Well, at least he got millions of dollars to do it and a nice new job where he can make more in a month than those in this survey who are forced to move can make in a year, combined.

Asshole.

Read the article,

Oil Spill: The Psychological Toll

Have a good day.