Steps Towards a Pilot Study: Limitations and Opportunities of a Mental Health Response Survey for Puerto Rico Following Hurricane María


  • Leonell Torres Pagan Department of Psychiatry, Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Columbia University Irving Med-ical Center, New York, USA
  • Jennifer Hinojosa Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, City University of New York, New York, USA
  • Luis Abreu-Rosario Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain. Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, USA
  • Carissa Caban-Alemán Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. Florida International University. Miami, Florida, USA


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Hurricane Maria and its impact over the island of Puerto Rico have led to an unpresented need to address mental health among its residents; however, not much research has been able to examine the mental health response efforts across the country. We aimed to document the process and outcomes from a pilot study conducted on mental health response provided in Puerto Rico. Participants were active members of institutions that hold administrative, executive, and leadership roles within the field of healthcare or mental health. A pilot survey evaluated the level of mental health services provided after Hurricane Maria. Descriptive statistics (frequencies and percentages) were conducted. Zip codes as spatial reference data were collected for descriptive purposes. Challenges for implementation and subsequent phases, including outreach and data collection were reported. Overall, the amount of offered services for depression; anxiety followed by trauma was comparatively higher for the first period post-Maria; and remained a prevalent pattern for the subsequent periods. This pilot was also able to highlight the concerns by the responders for the inconsistent humanitarian aid and medical care. This study found that mental health services provided post-Hurricane Maria were not equally distributed around the island. Non-for-profit organizations were able to collaborate and assist in providing such services in the lack of corresponding government response. Future studies should consider a most robust sample that would use contemporary tools to collect data needed to evaluate temporal tendencies.


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Cómo citar

Torres Pagan, L., Hinojosa, J., Abreu-Rosario , L. ., & Caban-Alemán , C. . (2021). Steps Towards a Pilot Study: Limitations and Opportunities of a Mental Health Response Survey for Puerto Rico Following Hurricane María. Revista Caribeña De Psicología, 5(1), e5507.



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