This article discusses the lasting effects of a natural disaster on those who are immediately affected, as well as the far-reaching effects on the mental health of those who are far from the devastation.
Since the beginning of human civilization, and even more so today with the increased frequency of mass shootings, mental health is a primary concern in our society. Mental illness affects those who are entangled both directly and collaterally, because it has dire impacts on our society. Lack of awareness, innuendos, and misconceptions have permeated our actions toward this pervasive illness. At the beginning of the 16th century, many hospitals and asylums were established to treat those who suffered from mental illness and terminal conditions. It wasn’t until the 20th century that the medical profession began to unravel the causes of mental illness and offer treatment options. We have learned recently that mental illness can be precipitated by natural disasters, such as the devastation that Hurricane Maria delivered to Puerto Rico in September 2017. Experiences of this storm may have had a profound negative effect on the mental health of hundreds — perhaps thousands — of Puerto Ricans.
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