Via Xinhua, a very interesting report: Christchurch quakes take toll on survivors' mental health: study. The report and then a comment:
People who were seriously affected by the devastating earthquakes in Christchurch and the surrounding Canterbury region are twice as likely to be addicted to smoking and 40 percent more likely to have mental health problems than other New Zealanders, according to a study out Thursday.
The study by University of Otago researchers of data on the mental health of more than 1,000 people born in Canterbury in 1977 showed people who experienced "serious adversity" in the quake were 40 percent more likely to suffer disorders including depression, post-traumatic stress or anxiety, and were 1.9 times more likely to be dependent on nicotine.
"These findings are likely to apply to other areas affected by major disasters and highlight the need to provide increased support to those most severely affected by these disasters," researcher Professor David Fergusson said in a statement.
"It is also clear, however, that the majority of those facing disasters are resilient and do not develop mental health problems. "
Fergusson said it appeared the psychological impact of the quakes could have been worse if community spirit were not so strong.
"A key consideration is the well-organised and responsive way in which the Canterbury community responded to these disasters with widespread support for those families affected by the disasters," he said.
"This is likely to have acted as a protective factor in mitigating the consequence for those with high levels of exposure to earthquake-related adversity."
Christchurch was rocked by a magnitude 7.1 quake that caused no casualties in September 2010, but a 6.3 magnitude quake the following February left 185 people dead and was followed by thousands of aftershocks.
This raises some serious implications. Through ReliefWeb and other sources, I read daily about all kinds of ongoing disasters: Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic, typhoons, droughts—but I rarely mention them because they are simply too big. Others are too small: a rise in the price of some staple food means the quiet deaths by malnutrition of children in whom we have no strategic interest.