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New Orleans student PTSD ranks higher than the national average – Brospar Daily News

For people with PTSD, nightmares, outbursts of anger, suicidal thoughts and flashbacks are symptoms of time spent in war zones. These symptoms make the victim unable to calm down.

But now, school-age children in urban Louisiana are experiencing these symptoms.

According to a study by the Institute for Women and Ethnicity, 60% of children in New Orleans suffer from PTSD. This rate is four times higher than the national average.

So how did the Big Easy – a city known for entertainment, jazz and carnivals – create an environment that resembles a war zone?

It all started with Hurricane Katrina, Niya Cordier and her husband Jason Jackson told their family.

One of the largest and most destructive storms in US history, killing over 1,800 people and causing $125 billion in damage.

“Hurricane Katrina was a catastrophic event,” Cordier said. “It hurt my whole family.”

She said her 10-year-old son, Will, had seen things children shouldn’t experience.

See more : Habitat for Humanity: Rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina

“My own son saw bodies, someone was shot, someone was pushed to the ground, injured, injured, struggling for the bus, struggling for food, struggling for the little things looted, waiting a few days for someone come to him 10 years,” Cordier continued. “What do they expect that to do to all those kids?

After Hurricane Katrina, another trauma occurred: gun violence.

Samuel Chesterfiled is a long-term licensed professional counselor who helps school-aged children overcome PTSD.

“I saw blood to see my neighbors or strangers murdered in my yard. It was painful,” he said.

Chesterfield said it’s common for children living in urban areas such as New Orleans to suffer from PTSD. “Natural disasters, traumatic events, abuse – it’s both physical and emotional trauma. It can be the death of a loved one, a chronic illness, it can be cancer, traumatic events, car accidents, violence, all of these things start. It plays an important role, especially when you live in the city center,” he said.

See more : How has our approach to PTSD evolved?

With the support of his family, Will graduated from high school and entered college. But the decision to return home one summer threw his life into chaos.

“He was playing one night… and a guy pulled out a gun and started shooting,” Cordier said. “Those few words changed my life… ‘Mom, I was shot at’… What happened when my son was shot was like a domino effect for us.”

After the shoot, Cordier said his son had become a completely different person. He changed his name, carried a gun and dropped out of college.

The shooting left the family in shock. And triggered PTSD in his 13-year-old sister, Jess. Nyusi did not show up to protect her privacy.

“I was terrified,” she said. “It’s like an idea [that] If I make eye contact with the wrong person and hold it too long, something bad could happen. “

Jess now refuses to pass near New Orleans, where her brother almost died.

“It makes me nervous, and if I’m being honest, it makes me crazy,” she said. “Like, an unsettling feeling.”

The summer months in New Orleans bring not only heat, but also violence.

In 2022, New Orleans tops the list of cities with the largest increases in homicide rates, according to Wallet Hub. Mental health experts say this is due to the lack of teenage activities, internships and jobs.

This Resilience Center Born of children in desperate need of help in the city. Executive Director Elizabeth Marcell Williams has been a provider for eight years.

“In the post-Hurricane Katrina era, we have seen a gradual cessation of public programs for children and youth with mental health needs,” she said. “Around 2012, schools in the city began to express a need. , and said, “We have children in our building right now who are in desperate need of more intensive support than we can provide, in terms of aggressive behavior and property damage, you know, children are not able to learn.”

It is now the only daytime therapy program in town, illuminating how to help children emerge from the darkness. The non-profit organization provides counseling and enough academics to help students graduate.

“On average, when we looked at our pass rates, 83% of kids completed our program and returned to their homeschool, where they were successful,” Williams said.

Cordier said a program like this could help his family. Instead, she and her husband moved to suburban New Orleans to protect their sanity and peace.

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