BAYOU LA BATRE, Ala. – Surgeon General Regina Benjamin returned to the Alabama community where she once ran a free health clinic and said the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico poses a new challenge that leaves many coping with emotional stress.
Benjamin spoke Wednesday at a church in Bayou La Batre, urging residents to secure counseling and medical help for those with mental health issues arising from the disaster.
Residents told Benjamin that outreach centers were needed along with translators for the many Vietnamese and Cambodian workers in Alabama's seafood industry.
"What we don't want is for them to feel alone," Benjamin said.
The free and low-cost clinic Benjamin ran as a physician before President Barack Obama nominated her as surgeon general continues its work today.