What could communities, government officials, nongovernment organizations, businesses, and scientists do to build community resilience to large oil spills? Answering that question was the goal of CRGC researchers as they researched and wrote their final report, Building Community Resilience to Large Oil Spills: Findings and Recommendations from a Synthesis of Research on the Mental Health, Economic, and Community Distress Associated with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Their findings on mental health distress were mixed, with income loss and prior trauma driving negative effects. Additionally, it was clear that industry suffered short-term economic loss, while households reported suffering economically in the long term. Finally, communities were stressed by the spill and by litigation afterwards. The researchers recommend the following:
- Focus on the needs of people and their communities.
- Address the complexity of the resource-dependent social systems in which disasters are managed.
- Enhance partnerships, leveraging diverse sets of skills and strengths.
- Connect the past, present, and future contexts to support disaster recovery efforts.
- Deepen the evidence base for building community resilience.