The situation in the gulf is getting so dire for some in the seafood industry, they’ve thought about committing suicide. Steps to intervene are underway.
Desperation is setting in in Southeast Louisiana. “I spoke to a group of fishermen, mainly Vietnamese Americans and a group of them came up to me and said, they told me that they contemplated suicide because they’re in such despair,” says Congressman Joseph Cao. He says fishermen are feeling compounded stress on top of post-Katrina troubles. “For some people, this is almost a boiling point where they can no longer handle it and they’re going to crack.”
“These are grown men that broke down and cried this morning because they don’t know what to do and we don’t know how long it’s going to be,” says Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser.
That’s why Cao and organizations like Volunteers of America are working to get mental health workers on the ground to intervene. “They’ve just recovered as a result of their businesses, their homes and the rebuilding effort and now you have a number of these small businesses, these fishermen, who have to go through this all over again,” says Voris Vigee with the Volunteers of America. She says organizations are expediting crisis and mental health counseling among other disaster-related services.
But Voris is confident people will survive this disaster. “I think that those folks are going to thrive even beyond today, tomorrow and beyond the months to come,” she says. That’s because we’ve done it before.
To get mental health help, dial 211 to speak to a counselor. On Monday, a claims form office is being set up where people can get information on Medicare, Medicaid, mental health services and more.
It’s from 8am – 8 pm at the Alario Center.