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Gulf oil spill: Suicide of spill worker prompts call for mental health aid

June 25, 2010 | 11:10 am

After the suicide of a Gulf Coast fishing boat captain, Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.) on Friday called on BP to fund efforts to address the "rising number of mental health problems" in the region caused by the massive oil spill.

"As we enter the third month of the Deepwater Horizon oil leak, it is becoming increasingly clear that Louisianans living along the gulf are not only suffering economically from this disaster, but also struggling emotionally from the stress and uncertainty of this tragedy," he said in a letter to BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg.

One agency reported that they had referred more than 1,500 people for counseling because of signs of depression, according to the congressman, who said that in town hall meetings, he has heard from residents who said they have been "overly stressed, anxious, or and/or depressed" because of the disaster. 

-- Richard Simon in Washington

Photo: Kelli Kruse, daughter of captain William "Rookie" Kruse, who apparently committed suicide Wednesday, is consoled at the dock where her father's boat "Rookie," was moored in Gulf Shores, Ala. Credit: Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times.