Mental Health Service Need and Use in the Aftermath of Hurricane Sandy: Findings in a Population-Based Sample of New York City Residents

Sarah R. Lowe, Laura Sampson, Oliver Gruebner, Sandro Galea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

The majority of disaster survivors suffering from psychiatric disorders do not utilize mental health services. Only one study to date has explored postdisaster service use after Hurricane Sandy, and the disaster literature is further limited by a lack of attention to survivors’ perceived need for services. We drew on data from a population-based sample of adults living in New York City neighborhoods that were most severely affected by Hurricane Sandy (N = 454). Less than 10 % of participants reported service needs (7.8 %) and service use (4.4 %) since the hurricane, 5.9 % were classified as having unmet needs (i.e., needs without use), and 2.5 % as using services without needs. Predictors of unmet mental health service needs included younger age, male gender, higher education, and exposure to more disaster-related stressors. The results suggest that efforts to reduce unmet postdisaster service needs could focus on reaching survivors with these characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-31
Number of pages7
JournalCommunity Mental Health Journal
Volume52
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Keywords

  • Hurricane Sandy
  • Mental health needs
  • Mental health service utilization
  • Natural disasters
  • Posttraumatic stress

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