This week’s episode is on stigma, suicide and the actions we can take to help amidst the mental health crisis in Puerto Rico. After Hurricane Maria, as the crisis deepened we heard stories of loss, we heard that suicide hotline calls more than doubled, and saw our loved ones experiencing so much anxiety and stress.
We in the diaspora and in Puerto Rico have seen those we love change.
We ourselves have changed… there’s a fragility and vulnerability in what we experienced. But to talk about our feelings is not easy and in this episode we discuss the stigma as it relates to Puerto Rican Culture as well as ways to combat stigma.
Our guest this week is Dr. Ruben Piñero Fuentes. A good friend of mine who is a psychiatrist and was gracious enough to share his story after Maria and also the current status of mental Health in Puerto Rico through accounts of friends on the island who practice. We discuss Disaster Psychiatry as well and the surprisingly easy thing we can do to help those experiencing depression, anxiety, PTSD or other related issue.
We also discuss religion and the role that many religious leaders play in getting their community help. We know that mental health is not easy to talk about but we hope this discussion helps you initiate that first small step towards self care, mindfulness, and treating your mental health the same way you would any other illness.
We invite you to share this episode with those you care about and take a minute to check in with yourself as well.
The Puerto Rican hotline for those on the island is: 1-800-981-0023
The National Prevention Hotline can be found: 1-800-273-8255
For more information and resources, go to this website: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
This subpage covers resources for disaster survivors too so check it out: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/help-yourself/disaster-survivors/
For anyone who is curious, as I was, about the literature on Disaster Psychiatry – you can check out this article:
As always – share this episode and follow us on Facebook / Instagram / and Twitter.
Also share these 2 resources for those wishing to advocate for Puerto Rico: