ESCAPE continue its offering of specialized services to children and their families in Puerto Rico to address and prevent post-traumatic stress disorders resulting from Hurricane Maria to minimize the occurrence of child abuse and family violence.
Our people, who are still recovering from Hurricane Maria two years ago, then faced from January to March 2020 the challenge of earthquakes that shook our country with over 1,500 displaced families, now are facing an even more serious disaster with the coronavirus pandemic.
During this period, services have expanded to serve not only those affected by the passage of hurricanes, but also those emotionally affected by the earthquakes of January and which continue to the present, and more recently those affected by the threat of the coronavirus. All these disasters have affected and continue to affect families emotionally, increasing the risk of violence and child abuse.
It is important to recognize that those affected by the passage of hurricanes are the same as those affected by earthquakes and now by the coronavirus pandemic. Too many stressors in a period of two and a half years that exponentially may increase the risk of domestic violence and child abuse.
An unintended consequence for children and adults living in abusive homes is that because of the enforced lockdown (to prevent coronavirus spread), they will have to spend more time with their abuser - and thus be at a heightened risk of further abuse. Sadly, there could be scenarios in which girls and boys will be abused for an unforeseeable length of time.
Due to the above, access to free mental health services will be more important than ever on the Island. Thank you for supporting ESCAPE to make this service possible.
To this date, 448 persons have received psychological support, prevention and group support services. After the earthquakes that affected the island, the request for individual and family psychological services increased. People who were fragile after the hurricanes passage, broke due to the continuous anxiety of "another earthquake" and recently by the possibility of being infected or the spread of the coronavirus. Among all the psychological interventions identified during this period, anxiety stands out.
It is important to highlight that to offer support services to a greater number of people, the workshop "They moved the floor, what do I do?" (Me movieron el piso, ¿qué hago?), was held. This workshop led by the psychologist was offered on 10 occasions in different towns of the Island. It offered a safe space for children and adults to ventilate their emotions, experiences and fears, and to learn strategies for the healthy management of their emotions to minimize trauma.
We will continue to offer psychological and support services and modify them to perform them remotely so that we can continue to serve as many people as possible even during quarantine and lockdown.
We hope everyone who reads this, and their families are safe.
Thanks again for the support!