Hurricane Harvey Long-Term Recovery Includes Focus On Mental Health

Chronic depression and anxiety, addiction and even post-traumatic stress disorder are public health concerns in the aftermath of events like Harvey

“Personally, one of the things that I was not prepared for was just the length of time recovery was going to take,” said Melissa Allen, medical director of UTHealth Harris County Psychiatric Center. Her home was flooded by Hurricane Harvey.

“The first story is virtually in disrepair, so we’re living on the second story, and even that, difficult for my kids to acclimate to.”

Allen said health professionals are seeing more patients reporting trauma related to Harvey and its aftermath. Daily life can be a struggle.

“The reason that someone is unable to complete those daily tasks is because they keep thinking about Harvey. Then that’s a sign that they probably should reach out for, you know, some professional advice or help.”

She said it’s important for friends and family to keep in close contact with anyone you know who’s struggling to recover. And for those who’ve experienced loss from the floods…

“Try not to isolate. You know, make sure that you try to keep some of your previous patterns intact, and that can help provide a sense of stability even when so many other aspects of our lives have changed.”

Mental health issues are often under-reported because symptoms typically are not expressed for weeks or months after a traumatic event.


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