The mental health impact of the oil spill is just starting to be documented, but it’s been in the limelight for weeks, especially among therapists, counselors, and other mental health professionals. Mental health claims, including $39 million to establish year-long programs for depression and anxiety counseling, have gone unanswered by BP. According to the New York Times, a BP spokesperson has confirmed the company’s stance: “mental health claims will not be covered.” Counseling for people in disaster zones is essential. Already the oil spill has increased levels of anxiety and stress among adults and depression, sleeping problems, and agitation among children. It is also expected to influence divorce rates as couple deal with new financial stresses. Without BP’s support, and with state budgets in crisis nationwide, it’s unknown whether residents will receive the mental health assistance they need.
© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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