In the weeks and months since Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, many people in the area have told us about their feelings of depression. And we've heard reports of people killing themselves because they couldn't cope with their changed lives.
The stories have been plentiful, but the tales of increased depression have basically all been anecdotal. But now some numbers have been thrown our way.
According to the coroner's office in New Orleans, the city's suicide rate nearly tripled in the months after Katrina. A suicide rate of nine per 100,000 residents jumped to almost 27 per 100,000 residents.
We spent time recently with a very charming, lifelong New Orleans resident named Gina Barbe.
Gina worked in the tourist industry before Katrina, helping to arrange vacation stays for people visiting New Orleans. She told me her life before Katrina was happy; that she was always laughing. But things changed after August 29.
Gina says after the devastation of the hurricane, she lost her job and her medical coverage. Some of her friends died in the hurricane; others committed suicide.
She says the city became dark and dangerous to her. She told me she has frequently thought about killing herself, and that for days at a time, she has not felt like getting out of bed. She thinks she's been profoundly depressed.
The New Orleans police department operates a "crisis unit" that helps people who need to be protected from harming themselves. Sgt. Ben Glaudi, the man who started the unit 24 years ago, says there has been a dramatic increase in the rate of people who need to be helped.
Sgt. Glaudi says Gina's story is unfortunately fairly typical. In fact, he says he himself has been depressed. His house was destroyed in the hurricane, and he and his family now live in a trailer.
Gina has yet to get professional help for her depression. But she says she will. She knows her life may depend on it.