Thursday, May 5, 2016
Imagine finding out that the contamination of your water was deliberate. And the perpetrator was your local government. Much more is at stake beyond the already significant physical health risks that the contamination brings. Along with the potential, if not likely, short and long term health conditions the water brings, comes the knowledge that those on whom you rely for that element most critical to life cannot be relied upon.
The residents of Flint are experiencing mental health problems as a direct consequence of the contamination. In addition to the uncertainty of accessing safe water, residents experience isolation as friends and family stop visiting, reluctant to expose themselves and loved ones to the risks. Children are experiencing anxiety resulting from exposure to frequent discussion of the crisis. Some are experiencing guilt resulting from the inadvertent exposure of their children to the contaminated water.
Mental health counsellors have organized centers such as the Flint Community Resilience Group to assist residents experiencing depression, anxiety and other mental health conditions.
Michigan State University School of Social Work has a website updating the public on the crisis and available resources.