Published On: Wed, Oct 4th, 2017

APAP SXM offers psychological recovery assistance after hurricane

PHILIPSBURG — In the early morning of September 6, 2017, Hurricane Irma made landfall on the island of Sint Maarten. When she left, she took a great deal with her. She took lives, roofs, cars and complete buildings. Next to these material goods, she also took the island’s feeling of safety, predictability and control, leaving the people of St. Maarten with a lot of questions and worries on how to move ahead.

Experiencing such a shocking event can severely impact the citizens of Sint Maarten emotionally. In the aftermath of Irma, The Association of Psychologists and Allied Professionals of Sint Maarten (APAP SXM) is focusing on providing psychological help and support to the community.

By means of stepped care, we are initially reaching out and providing the community with information on the process of psychological recovery.  Via various media outlets we are explaining the people of Sint Maarten what to expect and how to deal with the psychological impact Irma made on them. We also offer workshops/presentations to health care workers and other private businesses on the psychological effects of experiencing a disaster.  Furthermore, we aim to collaborate with the various organizations and entities that have a role in the psycho-social recovery of Sint Maarten. Organizing and streamlining these many efforts into one, will not only strengthen the support that is offered but also ensure quality mental health care.

It is important to realize that stress reactions are normal at first and are needed to process the disaster you have experienced. Some people might experience stress reactions such as anxiety, getting easily frustrated, anger, difficulty concentrating, tiredness or not being able to sleep.  In most cases these stress reactions decrease over time.  Additionally, to help the process it is important to give yourself time to adjust. It will take some time for things to go back to normal, so it will also take some time before you will feel normal. In the meantime try to share your experiences and express yourself. Try to get back to you regular routine as soon as possible and do not hesitate to ask for support from others.

In case the stress reactions you are experiencing are very severe or do not seem to decrease over time, please contact your house doctor, who can refer you to one of our specialists for trauma therapy. There are proven techniques and therapies available on the island that can help.

You can find us on Facebook or contact us via email (sxmapap@gmail.com), or your house doctor!


APAP SXM hurricane storm SXM adolescents poster