June 28th, 2010
04:54 PM ET

State wants BP to fund mental health services

On Monday, Louisiana's Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine requested $10 million from BP to provide mental health services to Louisiana residents affected by the oil spill.  The request comes after an Alabama fisherman committed suicide Wednesday.

In a letter to BP's Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles, Levine said, "There exists anger, anxiety and uncertainty among the families and communities affected by the spill, which will easily manifest into addiction and various forms of mental health crisis if not confronted."  Levine also says almost 2,000 people have undergone counseling by state crisis teams.  He says there are reports of a range of behaviors from anxiety to excessive drinking to thoughts of suicide.

Levine says the $10 million dollars will support six months of continued outreach activities by Louisiana's DHH's Louisiana Spirit outreach teams and local mental health programs.

BP press officer Tom Mueller says they received a request for funding and that BP is " is discussing the request with several stakeholder groups to better understand their plans and strategy."

soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Kris Mantravadi

    Would that $10 million be a shakedown or shakeup?

    June 28, 2010 at 17:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Mike Whitehead

    A shakedown, of course. Pathetic. I'll grant you that there are a lot of nuts in this world of ours. But I find it hard to believe that 2,000 people are seeing therapists over this oil spill.

    June 28, 2010 at 20:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Caron Speas

      You must be one of those retarded Louisianans who voted for drilling in the first place. Tell me, do you live on a dung heap and enjoy it? You cannot possibly love nature, because if you did you would be as emotionally upset as I am about this catastrophe. I am horrified, frightened, depressed, angry. I burst out crying spontaneously every time I watch the news coverage on the spill, I don't look at life and the future with hope anymore. I see the beginning of the end. I want to strangle Louisanans for wanting oil drilling in the gulf. (Floridians voted against it.)

      June 29, 2010 at 02:08 | Report abuse |
    • Peggy Bartley

      They will if it is tax free! Where is the money for the truly mentally ill in this great country of ours. All the state hospitals have been turned into parks for lover's picnics! Give me a break. I think I want a peice of this to – what does anyone have for suggestions on how it affects the cornfields of Southern Indiania? Any help would be appreciated. I just thought of one myself I am so scared to eat any type of shellfish that I just may need to seek therapy and bill BP for pain and suffering. I realize this is a major disaster but I personally beleive every thing humanly possible is being done to contain this spill. It's just another way of giving the atttorney 1/3 to 1/2 and you have a legit lawsuit. That is what this country is all about – EASY MONEY why work! Let's extend unemployment bull go work at McD and make the same amount you are taking for your vacation.

      June 29, 2010 at 14:42 | Report abuse |
  3. Pablo03

    Mike Whitehead: I find it hard to believe that only 2,000 need this help!

    June 28, 2010 at 23:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jeremy

    Katrina didn't pay enough. They told you to leave then...and you didn't listen. Then they give you a place to live, give you money without you having to work, and then give you assistance because of mental problems then. I understand that Katrina was hard for people...and alot of them accepted it and moved on. Then there are the MAJORITY, which blamed everyone except themselves for having to deal with it. You live by the water...you MIGHT at some point of your life...get a monster of a hurricane wipe out your house...it's called a gamble...you lost! Life sucks sometimes.

    NOW...I see a lady in that same area say that BP needs to pay her $500,000 to make it better for her. That is why our country is in the shape it is in today. MOOCHERS...FREELOADERS...LAZY BUMS...I take that back...at least a bum will try on his own to make it...and will get out there to MAKE an effort to raise money, swallowing his pride. These people have NO shame in them. They don't care, nor have any self motivation. GIMME GIMME GIMME!!! TAKE TAKE TAKE!!! And the REST of us AMERICANS suffer.

    June 28, 2010 at 23:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • abcdef54321

      This leak is a terrible tragedy, of course, but a part of me is amused to see Conservative Louisianians being called bums and moochers – like they have called so many others in the past.

      June 29, 2010 at 08:51 | Report abuse |
    • OrleansLady

      I agree Jeremy – Thank you. I live in the New Orleans Area and fended for myself during and after the storm. I am deeply hurt over this Oil Disaster and the impact that it is going to have on our environment and the economy. I love where I live and have no intention of leaving unless I have no other choice, but I do beleive that our state, and country need to be able to drill in the gulf for the resources that we need. Disasters happen, accidents happen.

      Some individuals should be compensated for their loss of income over this though.

      June 29, 2010 at 14:50 | Report abuse |
  5. Jeremy

    By the way...I am one of the ones affected by the oil spill. I am an offshore worker. So if ANYone needs some help...it would be me. May lose my job, house, everything I have worked for...and possibly put my family on the streets. But I ACCEPT the fact that these things happen in life. It is the career that I chose, and I understood the risks. Most of these "mental" issues are only filed so that they can use it in a court of law and say "look at me...poor me...I need tons of money because I have NEVER had it...and I want to take it...like I freeload in every OTHER aspect of life"

    June 28, 2010 at 23:33 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Caron Speas

      JEREMY: I work for a living. I work damned hard for a living. But I don't despoil the environment doing it like you do. If you think this is just an "oh, well" problem, you are stupid and insane. We ain't seen nothin' yet on just how bad the spill will be for all of us. . So when you are eating your words and regreting what you did for a living, be sure to post an apology at least as humble as your posts here today are judgmental.

      June 29, 2010 at 02:02 | Report abuse |
    • Topaz5465

      Jeremy-I am not sure if you are uneducated, ignorant, or simply stupid. This was a catastrophe that could have been prevented, and now people want compensation from the company responsible. It is not just some NATURAL disaster-it is WRONG & UNNATURAL for oil to be spewing uncontrolled into our oceans, killing flora, fauna, and lives.

      June 29, 2010 at 13:27 | Report abuse |
    • Stella Cadente

      Yeah, and Jeremy, when you lose your house and your car and everything else you hold dear because you are out of a job, you can go bang a cup on the sidewalk and be happy about it.

      June 29, 2010 at 15:20 | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      I do agree that what happened was bad. And yes, it could have been prevented. I am pretty sure that human error played a big part, as did greed. But, what I mean by this is that I am sick and tired of people relying on the government to take care of them. What ever happened to good ole self repsponsibility. I am just sick and tired of people sitting on their butts collecting a paycheck. Welfare and EBT are enough...actually...too much. There are people that complain because the government bought them a fully furnished house (after Katrina) and gripe because the TV isn't HD...or its too small. Be grateful that you HAVE a TV. That is what I am talking about. By the way, I am a very educated man. I just cannot stand lazy people trying to get a handout.

      June 30, 2010 at 08:39 | Report abuse |
  6. Juan

    If Jindal gives credience to this request I will personally see to it that the Mental Health Community spearheads this effort. The extremists MUST be contained at all costs. We need to ensure that the very best of the needs are met for the occupants along the Gulf Coast. We must ensure that the Republicans do not allow services to take on a "shakedown" opportunity by encouraging fradulent claims by ANYONE.

    June 29, 2010 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. GordonFreeman

    I don't live by the gulf but I feel my that my psyche has been negatively affected by the oil spill. Where's my money?

    June 29, 2010 at 00:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Caron Speas

    I have seen Lousianans begging for more drilling. I've seen Baby Jindal begging for more drilling. People from La must be insane or profoundly retarded. Perhaps they do need psychiatric assistance, but what I would like to see them get is ALL of the oil floating in the Gulf up on their shores, and their beaches, and their cities - and leave us Floridians out of it. We didn't vote for it, we didn't want it. The oil in the gulf was their doing - not ours. La asked for this - they got it - they want more of it. I don't feel the slightest bit sorry for them cause they are begging for more. Ignorant people.

    June 29, 2010 at 01:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeremy

      Just out of curiosity...you said that you didn't ask for this...right? How many automobiles do you drive...and what kind are they. Do you mow your lawn with an old manual mower...or one that uses gasoline. How much make up do you wear. Do you use ANY plastic products. Do you use any sun tan "oil", do you have electric or gas appliances? If you could, please answer these questions honestly and tell me THEN...that you don't need oil. Or are you one of the ones that want to rely on Muslim oil?

      June 30, 2010 at 13:28 | Report abuse |
  9. Caron Speas

    JEREMY: I work for a living. I work damned hard for a living. But I don't despoil the environment doing it like you do. If you think this is just an "oh, well" problem, you are stupid and insane. We ain't seen nothin' yet on just how bad the spill will be for all of us. . So when you are eating your words and regreting what you did for a living, be sure to post an apology at least as humble as your posts here today are judgmental.

    June 29, 2010 at 02:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeremy

      No apology is needed. Do you apologize for driving your car everyday, or wearing make up (made from petroleum), or using the thousands of other products made from petroleum. Like I said, it IS aweful what happened. I don't care if it is a natural disaster or not. All that I am saying is that people need not rely on the government for assistance for ANYthing. I am 30 years of age, proudly served this country for 7 years, 3 months, and 15 days. I have been married for 11 years and have 2 young children. I have not ONCE.....NEVER...asked ANYbody for assistance. I was affected by Katrina, just didn't have the flooding. I live in southwest Mississippi, grew up in central Louisiana. So this affected me just as much, AND my family that lives down in southeast Louisiana. And if they would have been asking for handouts from the government...I would have condemned them as well. Our government is in the TRILLIONS of dollars of a defecit, and they have the nerve to ask for money. Our dollar is now worth next to nothing...but let's make it weaker...stupid thinking. Now, BP (and Transocean who has seemed to slip through the cracks) is doing ALL they can do to stop this. They hired a boat Captain from Alabama (fisherman) to work for them to help "look" for oil.,.that is all he had to do...and probably got paid really well for this. He couldn't handle the paperwork, felt sorry for himself, and killed himself. I am sorry for his family's loss, but he was appearantly a weak individual. It is time to suck it up, make lemonade from life's little lemons, and act like our forefathers. Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It says NOTHING about money from the government, free handouts, or anything like that. The sad truth is, we have people RIGHT NOW trying to cross our borders illegally to get a job and WORK their a$$es off for next to nothing...but at LEAST they are willing to work. And you have most Americans that want to SIT on their a$$es and collect money they haven't earned, and then say it is "owed" to them. I am 100% against illegal immigration...but would rather have them...at least THEY don't mind a little work.

      June 30, 2010 at 12:21 | Report abuse |
  10. abcdef54321

    Conservative southerners have been arguing for tort reform for a long time. At first, being a good Liberal, I was opposed to capping claims for damage. I thought that sometimes corporate negligence and medical malpractice needed the fear of litigation to rein them in. But, after reading what many Conservatives have to say about it, I have changed my mind. Their arguments now make more sense to me. We Texans have capped awards for medical malpractice. Surveys show that the cost of medical care in Texas has not gone down as a result, but that is probably another Liberal lie.

    I realize now that every redneck in the South will be moving to the coast to get on the gravy train. I'm sure they will drink coffee at McDonald's so they can later say that their hands were shaking so much with stress over the oil spill that they spilled hot coffee on their laps. That way, they can sue both McDonald's for the coffee spill and BP for the oil spill. I heard somewhere – I think it was on Fox News - that many southerners are going to the beach, and pouring a can of BP oil all over themselves, and they then they fall down on the sand screaming, "The oil! The oil! It burns! It burns! Oh, the pain and suffering! Oh, the mental anguish!"

    I say let's enact tort reform NOW! Cap all damage claims at $10,000. That should keep them in corn dogs and RC Cola for a month or two. After that, they can move to Arizona and pick crops.

    This may sound tough, but as so many Conservatives have told me so many times, "Nobody ever said life was going to be fair."

    June 29, 2010 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeremy

      AMEN AMEN AMEN! This is the kind of crap that i am referring to. THESE are the people that I cannot STAND!

      June 30, 2010 at 12:30 | Report abuse |
  11. Fuyuko

    There are some who might be traumatized by the oil spill to need professional guidance and assistance. There have been deaths as a result and those folks could need counseling, however, where does it stop and who is eligible and how will this be measured? Mental health issues can be pre-existing, and exacerbated by tragic events, however BP should not be liable forever. A serious mental health issue could also lead to disability claims, and with many out of work, fraud is also a factor.

    June 29, 2010 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • OrleansLady

      I think the only individuals that should be elligeable for ANY Monetary benefit are those that have lost their livelyhood (business) over the spill.

      What bothers me most is that although BP should take responsability, the reality is that the employees working on the rig that lost their lives were ultimately responsible for the "accident"....why does everyone slaughter BP for this? it really was an accident and the individuals paid the price of their lives for this accident.

      June 29, 2010 at 15:37 | Report abuse |
    • Jeremy

      I agree orleanslady. I hate the fact that BP is getting their necks on the chopping block. I feel that Transocean was at fault more because it was their rig. When the BP company man wanted to move forward, all that the OIM (Rig Manager) had to do was take him to the heliport and SHOW him that BP's name was nowhere on that rig. I believe that this conversation probably happened. Further, I believe that this decision was made OFF of the rig. And the men on there, did what they were TOLD to do by the Corporate Decisionmakers, which have no CLUE about the science of drilling.

      If you were affected DIRECTLY (losing your job, business, livelyhood) as a result of the spill, then I believe that BP AND Transocean should have to compensate you. Outside of those things, you shouldn't be allowed to claim anything. If you disagree with this, then you are one of the one's I was speaking of that is trying to make a quick fortune without work.

      June 30, 2010 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
  12. Liz

    Jeremy – I completely agree with everything you said. I understand that those who have been directly impacted by the oil spill should be compensated. It is unfortunate that our country is often trying to drain every possible cent out of everything; it's no longer unconventional to be suing for petty things. This is not to say that emotional distress in reaction to the oil spill is existing. I am aware that it exists. I do not live anywhere close to the oil spill but even I can feel the the repercussions of the event – until the oil spill is completely emolliorated (and who knows how long that will take) – everone will be feeling pangs of tension. This spill is affecting everyone but we cannot expect everyone to be compensated – especially not for emotional distresses at this point.
    Some funding should be directed for emotional support, but let's not kid ourselves, $10 MILLION isn't necessary. We don't see the animals, wildlife, marine life asking for compensation. And that should be what we should be focusing on. That should be the core focus of our worries. If we spend all this time fretting about who gets what monetary compensation then our world is in a severe potential position of doom. The marine environment is one that NECESSITATES a very stringent set of conditions, the slightest deviation could mean devastating consequences. The ocean is able to remain fairly stable under many pressures, but surely not the oil spill and pollutants that are constantly dumped into it.
    Instead of wasting so much time trying to point fingers and asking for a ridiculous amount of money for emotional support, how about we try and remedy this problem as quickly as possible, because if we prolong this oil spill any longer it's not emotional support we need, but an Earth to live in.

    July 1, 2010 at 09:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. rockki

    Somewhere in this blatantly unrelated request you will find the relationship between pharma and the state gov. just in the Mother's Act, the TX TMAP (Texas Medication Algorithim Project) legislation and the pharma / gov. relationship in the FL foster care system. BP shouldn't be held any more accountable than GLAXO, ELY LILLY, Forest, etc. and they literally get away with murder. Were talking about birds and fish here, not people.

    August 2, 2010 at 06:58 | Report abuse | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.