Abstract

Abstract:

Psychological stressors have been observed immediately following disasters, yet less is known about the long-term effects on the mental health of vulnerable communities. In 2005, Graniteville, S.C. was ravaged by a train derailment that leaked approximately 60 tons of chlorine gas and left several people dead in the small community. The purpose of this study was to examine the mental health of Graniteville-area residents in the nine years following the train disaster using a mixed methods approach. Using the photovoice method, participants reported compromised mental health with symptoms consistent with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, fear, and anxiety. Medical records analysis indicated that mental health-related hospital encounters generally increased post-disaster. Mental health concerns should be anticipated in the long-term aftermath of disasters. Addressing these concerns is particularly vital in resource-poor communities. Our findings can be useful in developing mental health disaster management protocols and policies for communities in the long-term post-disaster period.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-6869
Print ISSN
1049-2089
Pages
pp. 284-302
Launched on MUSE
2018-02-27
Open Access
No
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