In Flint, Residents Report More Trouble Sleeping, Anxiety and Depression Since Water Crisis

By Yessenia Funes Nov 04, 2016

The federal, state and local government of Flint, Michigan announced yesterday (November 3) the results of a community assessment that examines the behavioral needs of residents since they discovered water was contaminated with lead in October 2015. 

The Centers for Disease Control conducted the Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response, or CASPER, over the course of a few days in May 2016 with the help of local health groups and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Behavioral health concerns that they wanted to document included anxiety, trouble sleeping, depression and substance abuse.

Unsurprisingly, most behavioral health concerns of the 182 people surveyed have worsened since the water crisis began, according to the report. Two-thirds of households with members 21 or older reported that at least one adult experienced one or more behavioral health concerns since October 2015, when city officials switched the city water source from the Flint River back to Detroit. In homes with at least one household member younger than 21, a little more than half reported that an under-21-year-old had one or more worsening behavioral health concern since October 2015.

The report also tracked physical health concerns. About half of households surveyed had members who experienced symptoms including skin rash, nausea and fatigue. 

The state, in response to the findings, has been working to address these health problems by expanding Medicaid, increasing child services like early education programs and meeting behavioral health needs through newly acquired funding.

Read more about the report here.