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We evaluated the impact of a media campaign targeting stress and depression following Hurricane Katrina. We specifically examined public response to the campaign's recommendation that people could contact a telephone help line for further assistance if needed.
Call data from Via Link allowed us to track trends in 800-number Crisis Line call volume (n=29,659), which is the number recommended in the media campaign, and 2-1-1 Information and Referral Line call volume (n=8,035), which is employed in a control-like manner. With data from April 1, 2006, through November 30, 2006, multivariate analysis was used to assess trends and differences among and within pre-intervention, intervention, and post-intervention.
Information and Referral Line call volume, which was unrelated to the campaign, did not change over time. In contrast, Crisis Line call volume, which was related to the campaign, increased significantly from pre-intervention to intervention, but not from intervention to post-intervention. Furthermore, the daily rate of Crisis Line call volume was constant during pre-intervention, increased during intervention, but decreased during post-intervention.
There is support for the media campaign's influence on public behavior to contact Via Link in regard to stress and depression following Hurricane Katrina. Analysis helps undermine alternative explanations, including general trends in help line call volume and those specific to Crisis Line call volume.