Mental health has been a priority in the aftermath of Hurricane María. A study from the Journal of the American Medical Association published a peer-reviewed study of the mental health in Puerto Rico’s youth after María and the findings are devastating: “83.9% of the public school children surveyed saw houses damaged, 57.8% had a friend or family member leave the island, 45.7% reported damage to their own homes, 32.3% experienced shortage of food or water, 29.9% perceived their lives to be at risk, and 16.7% still had no electricity 5 to 9 months after the hurricane. Overall, 7.2% of youths reported clinically significant symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, with demographic and risk variables accounting for approximately 20% of variance in symptoms.” Adults aren’t inmune either to mental health issues after the 2017 Hurricane season. PATRIA was thus created to address these issues affecting Puerto Ricans of all ages.

PATRIA is a mental health services project that fosters the recovery, quality of life, and empowerment of citizens after the 2017 hurricanes, while also aiming to develop the ability to prepare for future natural disasters by creating effective support systems, promoting therapeutic compliance, and logging vulnerable or high-risk individuals.

PATRIA will offer diagnostic and psychological assessments; individual and group counseling; psychotherapy; strengthening of the support system through individual and group psychoeducational interventions; and support for the adherence to treatment.

The agreement establishes the allocation of $1.210 million granted by HF for a one-year period, of which $450,000 has been assigned to fund stipends for 50 graduate students who will work with the project. These students will receive specialized professional training in trauma management post-disaster and during recovery. The goal is to continue offering these services in an ongoing way.  

If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, please request assistance immediately to:
Emergencias: 911
Línea PAS de ASSMCA: 1-800-981-0023. Carr.# 2 Km 8.2 Bo. Juan Sánchez, Antiguo Hospital Mepsi Center, Bayamón
Suicide Prevention Lifeline – Red Nacional (TALK): 1-800-273-8255
Centro de Control de Envenenamiento (Poison Help): 1-800-222-1222

The State of Mental Health in Puerto Rico


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