The department of Public Health has asked the Association for Psychologists and Allied Professionals (APAP) to support in the psychological first aid of companies and organizations in connection with the passing of hurricanes Irma and Maria. This document provides a proposal and guideline of what can be offered. This is based on the latest research and knowledge concerning psychological support after a disaster.

After a disaster there are specific risk groups that are more likely to develop (trauma related) psychological complaints such as, first responders and others whose jobs are directly linked to disaster management. It is important that employers provide such workers with the possibility to get adequate support to be able to process these experiences or psychological consequences in an adequate manner. This will contribute to the wellbeing of their staff in general and indirectly also the wellbeing of the organization (lower absenteeism, higher job satisfaction, loyalty to company, etc). While psychological first aid is highly recommended for companies with direct links to disaster management, this disaster has rendered our services highly beneficial to any company or organization on the island.

Psychological support, based on stepped care/triage method:

· Psychological first aid information session(s) for staff. A group meeting where psycho education about psychological recovery process after a disaster will be provided
· Screening of employees and staff[1] to assess individuals at risk for developing a trauma related disorder
· Follow-up of employees/staff who are at risk by email from APAP SXM with referral to a therapist when necessary. For employees/staff at risk the advice is to contact their company doctor from SZV or their General Practitioner
· Feedback and consultation session with management with statistics on employees/staff at risk and information regarding the stimulation of adequate psychological recovery of the staff.
[1] A psychological questionnaire will be used for this screening during the information session. Individuals have the option to fill it out anonymously or sign for consent to share results with manager/ SZV’s company doctor

Individual psychological therapy for those who have been referred (by screening and/or by personal request) can be provided by several organizations, foundations and private practices on the Island covered by insurance. A referral by either the company doctor from SZV or general practitioner is needed.

It is furthermore recommended that organizations start, if not implemented already, developing a method for peer support by training specific staff members. This fosters a supportive environment to deal with possible traumatic events. These trained staff members can offer practical and emotional support at all times when needed in a low profile manner and function as a bridge to the Association of Psychologist and Allied Professionals and specialized Health care organizations.

The psychological first aid information session(s) will be done free of charge. This is APAP SXM’s volunteer work and is regarded as essential in the aftermath of such an event.

The screening and active follow up are optional but highly recommended. The information received will be treated with the utmost confidentiality. Employers will gain a general overview of the mental health of their employees and can use this data to make important decisions moving forward. For those employees that may need a referral, this screening lowers the threshold to them receiving the support that may prove to be critical to their well being. A fee of 120 NAFL will be charged per 10 individuals screened. This fee goes towards covering program service expenses and overhead costs such as processing of data, prevention and information campaigns, testing materials and professional development among other things. APAP SXM is an association and will make no profit from these services.
The package mentioned above is our recommendation. It is of course possible for our organization to tailor our services based on the needs of a specific company. We can work closely with you to provide assistance that is the in the best interest of both the employer and the employee and in this way we hope to meaningfully contribute to the community at large.

Created By: APAPsxm October 11, 2017 Facebook page: APAP SXM Email:

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