Dr Robert London

Could group CBT help survivors of Florence?

Rising waters forced hundreds of people, mainly in the Carolinas, to call for emergency rescues, and some people were forced to abandon their cars because of flooding. One man reportedly died by electrocution while trying to hook up a generator. Another man died after going out to check the status of hunting dogs, according to media reports. And in one of the most heart-wrenching tragedies, a mother and her infant were killed when a tree fell on their home.

Watching the TV reports and listening to the news of Hurricane Florence’s devastating impact on so many millions of people has been shocking. The death toll from this catastrophic weather event as of this writing stands at 39. Besides the current and future physical problems and illnesses left in Florence’s wake, the extent of property damage and loss must be overwhelming for the survivors.

I worry about the extent of the emotional toll left behind by Florence, just as Hurricane Maria did last year in Puerto Rico. The storm and its subsequent damage to the individual psyche – including the loss of identity and the fracturing of social structures and networks – almost certainly will lead to posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and utter despair for many survivors.