How is the Mental Health of Florida Residents Impacted During Hurricane Season?

202 2

Overview

During the months between June and November, its not uncommon for Floridians to keep an eye out on the local weather channel for any approaching hurricanes. Hurricanes are one of the worst natural disasters in Florida. Its powerful winds and heavy rain can damage buildings and homes as well as destroy the natural environments in local neighborhoods and public areas. In 2017, Hurricane Irma hit Florida as a Category 4 Storm. Hurricane Irma knocked out the power for over 6.8 million people, flooded coastal cities, and ripped off roofs of many homes. In my hometown, Jacksonville, Florida, many people were living with no power for a few days, schools were cancelled for over a week, people were transporting themselves out of their destroyed homes using kayaks instead of cars since the streets were flooded, multiple trees in my neighborhood had fallen, and even pieces and planks from docks were flowing in the St. Johns river because they were broken off during the severe storm. While all these destructions were apparent to the public eye due to the thousands of photographs, videos, and stories presented through news coverages and social media platforms, there was little spotlight on the deterioration of peoples’ mental health as they witnessed their communities fall apart.

This picture demonstrates how Hurricanes are classified.

Pictures below were taken at my house. 

Broken Dock.

(We took this picture few hours after the hurricane had passed)

This Tree Fell Down In Front Of My House

(We took this picture few hours after the hurricane had passed)

This video below was taken by my father from his work. The video shows Downtown Jacksonville flooded from the St. Johns River after the storm. 

Mental Health Impact 

The more severe the Hurricane, the more impact it can have on a person’s mental health. To begin, a hurricane that is approaching as a category 4 versus as a category 1 can generate fear and anxiety as the hurricane comes closer to the person’s home and community. Since children will be sent home from school, many families can have higher levels of tension whether it be trying to figure out if their home is located in a hazardous zone, making sure they find an available shelter, or ensuring that they have enough food, drinks, and necessary appliances in case they are stuck inside their homes for a few days. An approaching hurricane can impede on the daily routine of a person already living with a severe medical condition. During an evacuation, there might be a disruption in their care which can cause their mental health status to get worse. In addition, power outages and damage from the storm can limit access to care facilities, health care providers, and psychiatric medications. Many people might even feel secluded or home sick staying in a shelter that does not give off the same level of comfort as their own homes. People can feel stressed thinking about what will happen to them during the storm if their power goes out, what will happen to their community, or to their homes. The costs to repair house damage can be difficult to afford for many people leaving them feeling depressed or overwhelmed. 

My Response

Some ideas I have

 Comments and Questions

Hello there! Thank you for reading my presentation! Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you may have about my project or this topic down in the comments. 

2 Comments

2 comments

  1. Hey Nia! As a fellow Floridian, I think you chose a topic that many of us here have had personal experiences with. I liked that you were able to identify a direct relationship between severity of a storm and the consequences on someone’s mental health. You did a great job describing the many factors that complicate the coming of a hurricane and increase stress levels for people who are being impacted. I wonder if in the future, mental health resources specifically for people facing difficulties after hurricanes will become more popular? Nice work overall!

  2. Hey Nia! I am also a Floridian so this appealed to me and interested me. I like the way you broke this up to easily look back. You also included some terrifying photos around you which is very engaging. Nice work!

Leave a Reply