Doctors in Puerto Rico are blaming Hurricane Maria for the spike in suicide rates


After Hurricane Maria, 26 people took their own lives in November, or nearly one person a day. The suicide report also found that 85 percent of suicides are committed by men, and 14 percent are committed by women. Many health specialists and doctors said the spike in suicides can be linked to the aftermath of the storm that struck the island on September 20 and the destruction of basic resources like food, water, electricity and housing. Keep up with this story and more by subscribing nowDr. Kenira Thompson, who is in charge of providing mental health services at the Ponce Health Sciences University in Puerto Rico, said she has seen a rise in patients since the storm. 'œA lot of patients are presenting severe mental health issues since the storm and the number of patients in our clinic has increased dramatically,' said Thompson. 'œNot one person that has lived through the storm can't say they weren'™t touched by what happened." The clinic, which has been opened for almost 16 years, has largely served mental health patients in Ponce, Puerto Rico to help people dealing with mental health issues, including the emotional and mental problems in the aftermath of the storm.  Recently, the clinic has set their efforts on reaching out to people who live in rural areas like in the central mountainous regions of Puerto Rico in the towns of Utado and Cayey, which have all seen an increase in suicides. Many of these rural towns still do not have power, are not able to get into town, and don'™t even have a roof over their heads. 'œA lot of people are still living with tarps over their roofs. We normally have thousands of patients but have seen an increase in patients coming into the facility in rural areas post-Maria. Power is restored in most urban areas, but for rural areas, it's as if the storm hit last week,' said Thompson.Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico with 155-mile-per-hour winds and more than 30 inches of rain, leaving a path of death and destruction that officials and locals are still trying to fully cope with. The official death toll is 66, but the island's government announced in December that it will recount the fatalities after two independent reports estimated that

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