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Delegation: More mental health help needed for Puerto Rico

January 19, 2018

BOSTON (AP) — The state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation is pressing federal officials on efforts to address mental health challenges in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

In a letter Friday to Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Elinore McCance-Katz, the 11-member delegation, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, points out hurricanes and tropical storms can trigger emotional distress.

The letter notes Puerto Rico’s single suicide prevention hotline with just twelve crisis counselors has seen a surge of calls, forcing employees to work extra hours.

The letter asks a series of questions about what services the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provided after the disasters and what additional federal resources are needed in both regions.

Most of the Massachusetts delegation visited Puerto Rico last week.

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