September 15, 2005

NAMI Calls for FEMA to Not Ignore Mental Illness

After Hurricane Katrina many of those with a mental illness, such as schizophrenia, were left without ways to access their medication or therapy. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has recently called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to also help those suffering from mental illness.


ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 14 The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) today called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to broaden its Crisis Counseling Program to include treatment and services for people with serious mental illnesses.

"It is unconscionable -- literally and symbolically -- that the Crisis Counseling Program, by the government's own description, provides counseling only to 'people responding normally in to abnormal situations,'" said NAMI executive director Michael J. Fitzpatrick in a letter to Acting Under Secretary for U.S. Preparedness and Emergency Response and head of FEMA, R. David Paulison.

Before Hurricane Katrina, an estimated 500,000 Americans with serious mental illness lived in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. Less conservative estimates put the figure closer to 1 million. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and schizophrenia.

After Hurricane Katrina, people in the Gulf region include those with pre- existing conditions and those who because of heredity or other predisposition face the onset of serious mental illness triggered by stress, loss, disconnections or other trauma from the disaster.

"This is not a temporary, short-term mental health problem," Fitzpatrick said. "Mental illness is a serious, long-term, life-threatening, chronic condition. The best hope for recovery lies in early treatment and services."

Before Hurricane Katrina, President Bush's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health called the nation's mental healthcare system a fragmented "system in shambles."

"Today the system in the region affected by the hurricane is in virtual collapse. The time for focused action is now," Fitzpatrick said.


You can access the FEMA site here.


i would like 2 no if i have schizophrenia can u help me plz

Posted by: kellyann at September 16, 2005 02:55 AM

The best thing to do if you think you might have schizophrenia is to talk to a psychiatrist

Posted by: megan at October 8, 2005 02:38 PM

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