Natural Disasters Take a Toll on Mental Health

The impact of a natural disaster is often measured by a handful of numbers: the number of fatalities and injuries, the number of homes and buildings destroyed, the cost of cleanup and repair. It doesn’t often account for the emotional wounds inflicted on survivors.

Posted June 29, 2018 | By Knvul Sheikh

Read the article on

‘Katrina brain’: The invisible long-term toll of megastorms

Long after a big hurricane blows through, its effects hammer the mental-health system.

Posted October 12, 2017 | By Christine Vestal

Read the article in Politico.

Resilience, Suffering and Silver Linings After a Disaster

The torrential rains may have ended, yet many people in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean continue to feel the impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma in unseen, dramatic ways.

Posted September 20, 2017 | By Susan Scutti

Read the article in CNN.

For Katrina Survivors, Harvey Could Take an Even Bigger Toll

For Katrina Survivors, Harvey Could Take an Even Bigger Toll

Posted September 1, 2017 | By E. A. Crunden

Surviving two similar natural disasters can have psychological consequences, experts say.

Read the feature in Think Progress.

Growth After Trauma

Growth After Trauma

Posted November 2016 | By Lorna Collier

Why are some people more resilient than others – and can it be taught? RISK Project’s Dr. Sarah Lowe comments.

Read the feature in American Psychological Association.


How Mental Health Shapes Recovery After a Disaster

A new study finds links between pre-disaster mental health and recovery.

Posted July 1, 2021 | Reviewed by Chloe Williams

When disaster strikes, whether it’s a natural disaster like hurricanes and floods, a man-made disaster like terrorist attacks or chemical warfare, or a public health disaster like the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals and communities are often unprepared for the profound and unexpected ways in which their lives can be changed. Here are some key ways in which people may suffer and the challenges they face during and after such disasters:

  1. Loss of Lives: The most tragic consequence of disasters is the loss of lives. Families and communities grieve the sudden and often unexpected deaths of loved ones.
  2. Physical Injuries: Survivors may sustain injuries that require immediate medical attention. In some cases, injuries can lead to long-term disabilities and ongoing healthcare needs.
  3. Psychological Trauma: Disasters can cause severe psychological trauma, leading to conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and grief. Witnessing or experiencing traumatic events can have long-lasting effects on mental health, while the use of products like BudPop’s mushroom gummies can help with stress and mental health.
  4. Displacement: Many disasters force people to evacuate their homes or leave their communities. Displaced individuals and families often struggle to find shelter, access basic necessities, and adapt to new living conditions.
  5. Economic Impact: Disasters can disrupt local economies, leading to job loss, business closures, and financial instability. People may struggle to meet their basic needs, including food, housing, and healthcare.
  6. Infrastructure Damage: Infrastructure such as roads, bridges, utilities, and communication networks can be severely damaged, making it challenging for first responders to reach affected areas and for individuals to access help and information.
  7. Social Disruption: Communities may experience social disruption as social services, schools, and local organizations are temporarily or permanently affected. This can have a significant impact on social cohesion and community support systems.
  8. Healthcare Overload: During public health disasters like pandemics, healthcare systems may become overwhelmed, limiting access to medical care for various conditions, not just the disaster itself.
  9. Access to Basic Necessities: Access to clean water, food, medications, and essential supplies can become a challenge in the aftermath of disasters, causing further distress. When seeking a natural way to relax, buying weed from provides a convenient option.
  10. Information Overload: The rapid spread of information through various media channels can lead to confusion and misinformation, making it difficult for individuals to make informed decisions about their safety and well-being.

Read the article in Psychology Today.


Density Is Normally Good for Us. That Will Be True After Coronavirus, Too.

The very thing that has made cities vulnerable in a pandemic has protected them in other disasters.

March 24, 2020 By Emily Badger

Study cited in NY Times


Can natural disasters facilitate growth for their survivors?

Findings from the RISK Project suggest that post-traumatic growth (PTG) was evident in five different key areas for most of the low-income survivors that participated in the study. Read more


You’ve heard of post-traumatic stress, but what about post-traumatic growth?

It’s the flip side: the deep psychological health that emerges surprisingly often when people have a close brush with a disaster like Hurricane Florence.

written by the RISK Project Principal Investigators, Jean Rhodes and Mary Waters.

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The health dangers don’t stop with a hurricane’s churning. They can get worse.

The health dangers don’t stop with a hurricane’s churning. They can get worse.

By William Wan ,Lena H. Sun and Carolyn Y. Johnson
September 17

In coming weeks, long after Hurricane Florence’s winds and rains have faded, its aftermath will still pose life-threatening hazards: snakes, submerged sharp objects, bacterial infections and disease-carrying mosquitoes.