"I'm a Nervous Wreck": Gulf Fishermen's Wives Face Trauma, Domestic Abuse, Economic Insecurity
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The scenery between New Orleans and the St. Bernard Project office is grim, the stuff they show you on disaster tours, neighborhoods that look like Katrina was five weeks ago, not five years ago. The project is still helping the hurricane's survivors, treating 300 low-income patients suffering post-storm trauma in the last year and a half. They saw a surge of mental-health care need just from local residents watching eerily familiar total devastation in Haiti on the news. They now need two satellite offices and to increase hours; Patron Tequila is currently sponsoring a five-city fundraising train tour.
Joycelyn Heintz, coordinator of the St. Bernard Project's Mental Health and Wellness Center, is bracing herself for the psychological damage this disaster is going to inflict both on her companions and on her client base. "Once we see the full impact," she says, "it's gonna be worse than Katrina."
*The names of the wives have been changed.