LSU Health NO, Partners Host Event to Improve Mental Health After Disasters

The Section of Community and Population Medicine at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine, along with NOLA Partnership for Mental Health and the Community Resilience Learning Collaborative & Research Network (C-LEARN), is hosting a free event to engage professional agencies, community organizations, and members of the public to explore issues and hear about research focused on mental health in the context of disaster preparedness and recovery and community resilience.

The Disaster and Mental Health Conference will be March 29 from 8:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. at Café Reconcile, 1631 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. The free event is geared toward agency members and anyone interested in disaster management, mental healthcare, or community-partnered research. Participants will hear from patients, advocates, experts in mental health, and community-partnered researchers. There will be a workshop on how to make change, resources for providers, and networking opportunities. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

“In disaster-prone communities such as Southeast Louisiana, the prevalence and severity of mental health disorders can be exacerbated by natural disasters,” noted Benjamin Springgate, MD, MPH, FACP, Community and Population Medicine Section chief and associate professor at LSU Health New Orleans schools of Medicine and Public Health. “Multi-sector coalitions and community engagement can improve the quality of care and outcomes of mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, while also addressing social risk factors for depression, such as poverty and access to housing. There is often a lack of trust of research within communities that have high burdens of mental illness, low access to, or quality of care. The results of health research often don't target or reach the affected patient populations. For these reasons, it is important for the community to be involved in disaster-related research, especially in the context of mental health.”