When I began reading the assigned article on Telemedicine in Ethiopia, I immediately thought about health issues in post-Katrina New Orleans, particularly relating to mental health. I did some research a found an interesting article entitled “The Long Road Home: Rebuilding Public Inpatient Psychiatric Services in Post-Katrina New Orleans.” The article explains that after Katrina, there was an expected surge in people needing mental health treatment due to PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc. In fact, according to the article, ” The first large empirical assessment of post-Katrina mental health revealed that anxiety- and mood-related mental illness doubled after the disaster.” Unfortunately nearly half of the city’s psychiatric beds were no longer available due to the closing of Charity Hospital. Though many psychiatric patients were moved to other hospitals in the state, the lack of trained health professionals in New Orleans after Katrina made treating the increasing number of residents with mental health issues extremely difficult. The article suggests disaster preparedness plans for mental health services should be put in place, and offer telemedicine as one of the possible solutions to dealing with the lack of available health professionals and increased demand for their services.
What do you think about the effectiveness of telemedicine vs. direct consultation when dealing with people with mental or mood disorders?
Do you see telemedicine as a long term or temporary solution to dealing with the lack of available health professionals in a post-disaster community?
Original Post by Danielle Kraus