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Behavioral Health Concerns During the Flint Water Crisis, 2016–2018


In April 2014, a switch in the municipal water source for Flint, Michigan resulted in contamination of the water supply with lead, a toxic health hazard. Since the onset of this Flint Water Crisis, there has been considerable interest in behavioral health outcomes for Flint residents. In 2016, local, state, and federal partners began to collect household-level, emergency-related behavioral and physical health information in Flint. Follow-up data were conducted in 2017 and 2018 to evaluate changes in behavioral health outcomes and the effectiveness of behavioral health programming. From 2016 to 2018, Flint residents demonstrated improvements across several behavioral health outcomes; however, residents continued to experience crisis-related stress, including fear that the crisis would never be fixed. Future behavioral health efforts in the city should focus on continuing to provide behavioral health services to residents and restoring trust within the community.

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Funding was provided by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Grant Number 1H79SM063521).

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Correspondence to Rodlescia S. Sneed.

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Sneed, R.S., Dotson, K., Brewer, A. et al. Behavioral Health Concerns During the Flint Water Crisis, 2016–2018. Community Ment Health J 56, 793–803 (2020).

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  • Community behavioral health
  • Stress
  • Youth
  • Families