Geisinger Health System announces plans to conduct a study into the use of mental health services during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the coastal New Jersey counties of Monmouth and Ocean.
"Hurricane Sandy offers a unique opportunity to study the impact of a large-scale natural disaster in a major shore community," said Joseph Boscarino, Ph.D., MPH, senior investigator, Center for Health Research, Geisinger Health System, and lead investigator on the study. "Through this study we hope to gain a better understanding of how mental health services were used and their outcomes, so that the providers of those services can be prepared in the future."
The study will be conducted through telephone surveys of community residents, who will be questioned about the extent to which they were impacted by the disaster, their health status before the disaster and whether they have experienced any mental health impacts as a result of the disaster, such as anxiety, depression, panic attacks, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
The study seeks to provide healthcare providers with a community needs assessment and clinical screening tools that can be utilized in future community disasters.
Hurricane Sandy devastated portions of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern United States during late October 2012. Preliminary estimates assess damage at nearly $50 billion, according to the National Hurricane Center, which would make it the second-costliest Atlantic hurricane, behind only Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Sandy caused 72 deaths and destroyed more than 650,000 U.S. homes.