Home Invites Members Groups Events Videos News Photos Blogs Forums Chat
Home > News > Post Content

Meet the changemaker: A mental health care worker who is helping Puerto Rico heal (448 hits)

The aftermath of a natural disaster causes disruption to every part of a community’s well-being, from physical infrastructure and economic growth, to social and mental health. The issues addressed urgently following these emergencies are often the most visible: lack of food and water, obvious hazardous conditions, and the immediate needs of survivors. However, a quieter and consequential issue that can be unintentionally overlooked is mental health.

Through the work of Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) member Americares, health care workers like Geitel and other first responders are being trained and supported on how to respond to trauma and address their own struggles. Americares has trained over 6,000 people so far, well above their initial goal of 5,000.

Another CGI member, the International Medical Corps, has committed to train 250 additional health workers to provide psychological and psychosocial support to adolescents and elders. The International Medical Corps has been working to raise awareness about mental health, and the services available to assist with mental health needs.

Read more to learn about the impact of these two commitments.

Turning trauma into hope
By Geitel, Suicide Prevention Protocol Program Manager, Municipio de Hormigueros

There are days that change the course of your life forever. For me, it’s September 20, 2017 — the day Hurricane Maria made landfall on my native island of Puerto Rico. The deadly storm flattened homes, destroyed roads and cut power to the entire island, leaving more than 3.3 million people in the dark. The feeling of uncertainty was palpable everywhere you went. It seemed like we were completely shut off from the world.

When I returned to work on September 21, it was all hands on deck. The storm had damaged the phone lines at Emergencias Médicas, but we had one satellite phone available for people to make calls. Residents lined up outside of our offices day and night to use the phone, hoping to get word to family members that they were safe. I remember one woman asking us to call her family in Spain. When we connected her, she let her family know that she has made it through the storm, but what she said next hit me like a punch to the stomach. Her husband had passed away that morning. She hung up the phone and immediately collapsed into my colleague’s arms. I just hugged her — at that moment it was all we could do.

Very quickly the double burden of supporting survivors — while being survivors ourselves — began to take its toll. We worked day and night even though many of us were personally dealing with damage and loss at home.

Then, I participated in a Psychological First Aid workshop delivered by Americares. Not only did I learn how to better identify, assess, and respond to the needs of others in times of crisis, it was also the first time that many felt comfortable sharing their experience after the storm. In our line of work, we focus on helping those in need. Americares taught us that we are important too, that we need to think about our own health and well-being in order to help others recover.

On the ground in Puerto Rico
International Medical Corps (IMC) has been on the ground in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria struck. Initially working to help healthcare centers remain open, IMC is now focusing on the long-term recovery needs.

Watch the video below to hear how they’re focusing on mental health and building greater resilience in communities.


The Clinton Global Initiative Action Network on Post-Disaster Recovery is committed to developing and implementing comprehensive plans for successful recovery in places devastated by natural disasters. At the most recent meeting in the United States Virgin Islands, the action network announced 29 new projects for resiliency and disaster recovery. Since the launch of the action network last year, 775 organizations have made 86 Commitments to Action and convened four meetings.


Photo: REUTERS/CARLOS GARCIA RAWLINShoto

Read more about the Clinton Global Initiative Action Network in our Impact Magazine at clintonfoundation.org/peoplefirst.


https://stories.clintonfoundation.org/@ClintonFdn
Posted By: Elly Moss
Monday, July 1st 2019 at 5:08PM
You can also click here to view all posts by this author...

Report obscenity | post comment
Share |
Please Login To Post Comments...
Email:
Password:

 
More From This Author
Mermaid Chronicles - 15 Day Fit Cardio Workout
Who's for the Animals, pets, wildlife?
Let's take a walk
I Chose My Specialty for Residency! | A Day in the Life of a 4th Year Medical Student
Mermaid Chronicles
Mermaid Chronicles
I See You
Mermaid Chronicles
Forward This Article Entry!
News Home

(Advertise Here)
Who's Online
>> more | invite 
Black Health Statistics
+ African Americans are 70% more likely to get Diabetes than whites.

+ More African Americans are obese than any other ethnic group in the U.S.

+ Infant mortality rates are twice as high for African Americans than for whites.

+ African Americans are more likely to die from Heart Disease than any other ethnic group.

Latest Member Activity
raphael mbamba just became a new member. 08:49AM
bryson tang just posted a blog entitled 'cute daily dress for toddlers – popular toddler’s fashion '. 03:33AM
beverly oliver just posted a blog entitled 'dr. sebi's son sesa defends his father's original company the fig tree'. 04:13PM
beverly oliver just posted a blog entitled 'frances, her tumor and no more sex'. 02:24PM
ashley hunr just subscribed to a new blog. 05:21PM
ashley hunr just commented on a article entitled 'all nursing grads from morgan state pass national nursing exam on first try '. 05:21PM
ashley hunr just commented on a blog entitled 'how branding superstar university offers branding accelerator program by pam perry, pr!'. 05:19PM
ashley hunr just commented on a blog entitled 'how new birth missionary baptist church presents superbowl ~ dr. jamal h. bryant, senior pastor!'. 05:18PM
ashley hunr just commented on a blog entitled 'vlogmas! 12 days of christmas fitness'. 05:16PM
ashley hunr just commented on a video entitled 'vlogmas! 7 days of christmas fitness'. 05:16PM
ashley hunr just commented on a blog entitled 'is your mate your accountability partner?'. 05:15PM
ashley hunr just commented on a blog entitled 'hbcu marketplace gifts: divine 9 premium fraternity / sorority playing cards'. 05:13PM
>> more | invite friends