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The Effect of Natural Disasters on Mental Health

Posted by Brian Spence on Nov 13, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Mental HealthMaintaining mental health is as important as taking care of our physical bodies but when natural disasters strike these types of healthcare options fade into the background as victims struggle to keep their bodies from damage.

Not only is healthcare less available in the immediate aftermath of natural disasters, the stress of these events likely trigger symptoms and behaviors that lead to mental health problems.

Read on to learn about the effects that the continued power outage in Puerto Rico has had on its residents.
  • Limited Access to Necessities. With most of Puerto Rico still without power, access to clean water and food is a daily struggle. These types of stressors increase depression and anxiety in residents and do not simply disappear once the disaster is gone. Residents need access to healthcare now, and continued access in the future to treat mental illness that require long-term care.

  • Limited Care for Preexisting Conditions. When communication and transportation aren't accessible, like in Puerto Rico at the moment, access to healthcare for any type of problem including those with preexisting mental health conditions is difficult at best. Until power and transportation is available, daily needs like filling prescriptions, Dr. visits, and health assessments are difficult to fulfill.

  • Triggers for Substance Abuse. Finally, when faced with the hardships of daily life in Puerto Rico post-hurricane, substance abuse instances increase and treatment options often aren't available or are difficult to get to. Whether to numb physical pain or to escape the hardships of the present, substance abuse incidents tend to increase when natural disasters strike, making the need for mental and emotional health services post-disaster even more urgent.

The power outage has taken a toll on those in Puerto Rico, and while relief efforts are continuing, there is still much work required to restore the mental health for those affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Those on the Island need transportation to and from medical facilities, electricity, access to clean water, and continued mental and physical healthcare.

If providing care through mental and behavioral health services is something that you're passionate about, contact us to learn about current job opportunities. We work with the top behavioral health services in the area and can help you find the right fit for your skill set and interests.

If interested in learning more about this and related topics, visit the Mental and Behavioral Health sections of our blog.


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Topics: Mental Health, Behavioral Health

Staffing Plus is a premier healthcare staffing firm that provides temporary, per diem, temp-to-hire and permanent Staffing Solutions for Behavioral Health, Education, and Healthcare settings. We have leveraged decades of experience to assist organizations with the challenges of managing their HR and Recruiting needs.