Haiti Relief Aid Can Sway Risk for Mental Woes

"People come together in these tent communities, which helps in the short term, but in the absence of something to do that is helping themselves, the environment really becomes quite toxic," said Tuma.

Judith Bass, a psychiatric epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Refugee and Disaster Response, agreed.

"Dignity. Giving the people a level of dignity is something that can be hard," said Bass, who recommended relief workers respect the universal human need to have a livelihood and provide for themselves and their families.

"The more the relief workers can give people some semblance of control, the better," said Bass.

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