Op-ed in The Hill

I recently wrote an op-ed piece in the The Hill, articulating some of the key findings from analyses carried out by Elizabeth Chase at the University of Michigan and myself related to the water crisis. Rather than focusing on the “physical” morbidity–blood lead levels, skin rashes, hair loss, etc…–the focal point in this op-ed was, necessarily, mental health. During environmental crises, especially those which have a sharp social or racial stratification component (like COVID-19!), it’s fairly uncommon for public health practitioners or policymakers to consider the emergence of acute mental illness, or the more chronic varieties (anxiety, psychological trauma, etc.). In this op-ed, I cover some of the complexities of mental health in the context of public health disasters, arguing for policy that considers depression, anxiety, and PTSD as key, persistent consequences of environmental crises that require frontline resources.

Image: NRDC

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