Psychological Recovery after Hurricanes Irma and Maria September 2017 on St. Maarten
Insights, Information and Experiences from the field 

We are proud to publish this document about our findings and learnings on experiencing and recovering from a hurricane, with specific focus on the psychological aspects in this matter.  Click here now to access it:
Document APAP Psychosocial Recovery after the hurricanes on St. Maarten final version

DCOMM Introduces new Radio Program about Mental Health – Psychology
For full article click here
For recording of the episodes click here

Next Level Thinking” (NLT) is an initiative of the Department of Communication (DCOMM) a department that falls under the Ministry of General Affairs.

The radio program airs Mondays at 8pm on SXMGOV Radio 107.9FM and is hosted by members of ‘Association of Psychologists and Allied Professionals SXM’ (APAP SXM).

NLT came about after the group, APAP SXM was recognized as an instrumental key stakeholder by the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour (Ministry VSA) post Hurricane Irma to help schools and the general public at large to understand and deal with Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It is after the first interview with APAP SXM on the DCOMM Program Inside Government that it was realized how instrumental the topic of psychology, human behavior and thinking plays a major role in how we shape the future of Sint Maarten since becoming a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The first program premiered on SXMGOV Radio 107.9FM on Monday October 22nd, 2018 delivering an introduction to the science of Psychology.

Topics covered in Season 1 of NLT are 1. psychology introduction (general introduction to psychology and what it entails); 2. stress in adults; 3. stress in children and adolescents; 4. why do we celebrate; 5. healthy lifestyle: alcohol/ drugs/ food; 6. dealing with the upcoming hurricane season; 7. positively influencing a child’s development; 8. what if your child is developing differently; 9. mental health, what does it mean and how is it to live with a psychiatric disorder; 10. life with a disability.

Throughout the various episode’s listeners will hear from a number of health professionals: Alexandra van Luijken developmental psychologist; Zuleima Violenus- Salmon neuropsychologist; Carmencita Chemont, health care psychologist; Stephanie Haseth, child and adolescent psychologist; Miranda Veltman, health care psychologist; Sanne Gruijters health care psychologist; Joyce Zwanenburg Pedagogue; Caroline van Oost, health care psychologist; Honey Sheridan, board certified behavior analyst; Henriette Scheurs-van Mil, Orthopedagogue.

DCOMM continues in its efforts to provide valued information to the general public via various programs in order to keep the community informed. 

Public Service Announcements after the Hurricane(s)

Shortly after the hurricane and in the new year a Public Service Announcement (PSA) was recorded by APAP. Maybe you already heard it on the radio and/or saw it on our Facebook page. Our goal was to inform the community on St. Maarten during the recovery process to take good care of themselves. Awareness of the psychological effects of being in this situation is the start point in our opinion to be able to prevent psychological problems where possible. We ask you to listen to the message and spread the message where possible!

First PSA (soundclip):

Second PSA (movieclip):

News Articles

In the last few weeks some news items and articles concerning the psychological well being of the people on St. Maarten after the hurricane have been aired and published. For example one of our members was interviewed for a documentary program from the Netherlands (Zembla) that was recently aired. You can watch this TV-program here:

The Minister of Home Affairs and Kingdom Relations Kajsa Ollongren addressed this issue also in the Second Chamber in the Netherlands: that the focus should not only be on the material aspect of the reconstruction, but also on the immaterial aspect, to help the people in dealing with the emotional consequences of the hurricane.…/71367-mental-traumas-will-n…

The following article gives a more nuanced overview of the message what our member was bringing over in Zembla, that is the amount of people who can experience psychological distress at this moment is significant and that this topic needs sufficient attention on the island (it is written in Dutch)…/posttraumatische-stress-bij-ee…/