Gulf Residents Suffer Mental Health Problems Stemming from Oil Spill

By Staff Writer

While the BP oil spill that occurred last spring may not be in the news much these days, its psychological effects are still pronounced, according to a new study from the University of Maryland. The findings suggest that the trauma from this incident has caused many people in the Gulf region to suffer from depression and anxiety.

The researchers examined the impact of the spill on the mental health of residents of two fishing communities. One was in Alabama and was directly affected, with oil reaching the shore. The other was in Florida and was only indirectly affected.

The results of the study showed that residents of both areas had abnormally high levels of anxiety and depression and that these symptoms began to emerge shortly after the spill began. Researchers said that the findings show a tremendous need for mental health services.

Individuals who suffer from depression and anxiety disorders are significantly more likely to develop substance abuse problems that eventually require drug rehab services. Providing residents of the Gulf region with mental health assistance may help avert a larger public health crisis.