College students examine hurricane effects on mental health in North Carolina

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ELIZABETH CITY, NC (WTKR) — An Elizabeth City State University research team is studying the effects of hurricanes on mental health throughout coastal North Carolina.

Dr. Kulwinder Kaur has been awarded a $50,000 grant for that study. The Department of Homeland Security grant has helped fund a study that covers “vulnerable populations in coastal North Carolina,” which include Bertie and Jones Counties. The grant is administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education.

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Last summer, led by Dr. Kaur, ECSU students such as Jada Ellis worked on the project that looks at what causes residents to stay put when a life-threatening storm is about to bear down on them.

“We found in our exploratory summer research data that there is prevalence of mental health issues including substance abuse, but also there seems to be some disconnect between the administration and the residents regarding the availability and accessibility of services,” according to Dr. Kaur. “It is expected that the services may be available but may not be sufficient and there may be some obstacles in accessing the services.”

Read more here.