BP Has No Plans to Cover Oil Spill’s Mental Health Consequences

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 John Smith, therapist in Bellingham, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • pearl


    August 4th, 2010 at 7:10 PM

    although BP is technically responsible for the damage caused to the mental health of people,it will not work if people file claims for their treatment.

    it would be better if the government constitutes a program and people should be able to make claims to the government directly.and the money to be given can be taken from a separate fund kept aside for the same,from the damages obtained from BP by the government.

  • Stuart


    August 4th, 2010 at 10:08 PM

    I’m saddened to read of their stance but did we really expect any better of these scoundrels? They have been avoiding responsibility since day one. This is just another task wiped off their to-do list. They don’t care.

  • teresa


    August 5th, 2010 at 3:22 AM

    our government is not dealing with BP in the manner a wrong-doing organization should be dealt with. it is very surprising and I just hope we can actually gather a mass-movement to ask for a valid reason for such lax behavior from our government.

  • Bethany


    August 5th, 2010 at 4:30 AM

    surprise surprise. . . all they are concerned with covering are their own behinds and their losses

  • Rebecca


    August 5th, 2010 at 7:04 AM

    I hope that regardless of the irresponsiblity of others, these good people will find solace in their families and places of worship and the mental health practitioners will help them find their way to help. I believe in the resilience of the people in the Gulf States.

  • GC


    August 5th, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    BP needs to be gotten back on leash.It cannot be allowed to run business here if it takes no responsibility for its own wrong-doings.No amount of money will compensate the trauma and the suffering of the people.But they are not even TRYING to fix the issue by taking the money issue onto themselves.Are our politicians sleeping?!

  • Wayne


    August 5th, 2010 at 12:37 PM

    The government should force BP to pay it. Why should they not? A mental illness can affect your life and be as debilitating as any possible physical one could be, if not more so.

  • celia


    August 5th, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    BP will be terrified that their remaining shareholders will up and leave in droves, causing a drop in their share price, if any more drains on their finances are announced. Conscience, what conscience?

  • Rose


    August 5th, 2010 at 7:45 PM

    The article states, “Kenneth Feinberg, who is administering the BP claims process, has said mental health claims will not be covered. BP is considering requests from Mississippi and Louisiana for $39 million to cover mental health treatment through October 2011. ” So which is it: are they covering it or not? Who has the final say here and has there even been a final decision made? How can they be considering it if Feinberg said it’s not covered? That’s a very ambiguous passage.

  • April


    August 6th, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    No one should forget this just because they have managed to cap it. The media has a habit of dropping coverage fast when the immediate crisis is over and forgetting about the people left to pick up the pieces of their lives. Help keep the coverage front and center by writing to your Senator and the press expressing concern for those citizens’ future.

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