As fires, floods and other disasters mount, so do stress and trauma. Columbia Journalism School and the Center for Public Integrity are hosting a conversation for disaster survivors, mental-health experts and communities grappling with these increasingly common events. With the pandemic layering on top of extreme weather, experts worry about an unprecedented mental health crisis.
Some topics we’ll be tackling in this discussion:
How disasters and their aftermaths challenge mental health
Strategies for individuals, groups and communities to support psychological wellbeing after disasters
Ways to address the overlapping impact of inequality and disasters
How reporters can bring attention to this issue by covering disasters with an eye on mental-health impacts
Public Integrity and Columbia Journalism Investigations, Columbia’s post-graduate reporting program, joined forces with news organizations around the country to report on these issues. We heard from more than 200 survivors and mental-health professionals about their experiences. We’ll share some key findings and hear from panelists with deep expertise.
The discussion will be kicked off by Kristen Lombardi, the CJI editor, and Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Public Integrity reporter and co-editor on the project. Our panelists:
Hilton Kelley, a community advocate in Port Arthur, Texas, and survivor of Hurricane Harvey; he is a nationally known environmental justice activist and recipient of the 2011 Goldman Environmental Prize
Dr. Annelle Primm, a community psychiatry expert and chair of the All Healers Mental Health Alliance, a group that taps volunteers to fill gaps in the government response to disaster-struck communities of color
Dr. Irwin Redlener, senior research scholar with Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness and author of Americans At Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared For Megadisasters and What We Can Do Now