More than a year after Hurricane Maria devastated already struggling areas in Puerto Rico, families continue to recover in the aftermath that has taken an emotional toll on the country.
Crisis hotlines reported an influx of calls near the 1-year anniversary last month – nearly 600 a day. Reports list the normal rate as 150 to 200 daily calls before the storm.
“The anguish of the people who lost their loved ones and their homes to Maria is still very much alive,” a CBS article reads. “Added to this is the stress and confusion around complicated U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding applications that are snarled in bureaucracy, home repairs that still need to be done, jobs that have disappeared, families that have been separated, and daily routines that remain badly disrupted even a year after the storm.”
Throughout the 12 months following Hurricane Maria, reports of increased calls to mental health hotlines surfaced with rates surging to around 500 calls a day, up to 600 daily closer to the anniversary.
With cellular networks damaged during the storm, some struggled to get the help needed. One month after the storm, CNN tells the story of an 18-year-old boy suffering from depression since the storm and having dealt with the death of his father to cancer just a year prior. One month after Hurricane Maria, he texts his mother:
“Where are you??” the 18-year-old wrote at 11:32 a.m.
“Mami call me it’s important.”
The texts did not go through until 90 minutes later, according to the article. She rushed home to find him already dead. An additional 7 deaths of those under 25 were label suicides throughout the rest of 2017, and a total of 82 suicides were recorded, the article says.
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Your donations help us continue to support those recovering from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. “Thank you,” simply isn’t enough, but we hope you feel the warmth and satisfaction of helping others as we do.