Kochi: The mental trauma suffered by flood-hit victims is much more serious than was initially thought with the helpline service started by the Ernakulam psychiatric society (EPS) to support flood-hit people in the district recording as many as 321 cases in 15 days.
“We’re receiving 15 to 20 calls daily besides many enquiry calls. The trauma left over by the deluge affected many seriously. We’ve received most calls from Paravur region where flood waters submerged houses of almost all victims,” said Dr P.J. Pratheesh, general secretary, Ernakulam Psychiatric Society (EPS).
A total of 30 psychiatrists practicing at various hospitals answer the calls received through the helpline number 9946000458, set up by the EPS in association with NGO ‘MAGICS’.
While the doctors themselves provide counseling to all callers, they identify those who need treatment. Such callers will be identified and the cases will be referred to members of the society who are having consultation in the area where the patient resides.
“Some cases require immediate medical attention. For instance, a woman, a native of Chalakudy, couldn’t sleep these days. She gets panic whenever the thought of her suffering crosses her mind. She was living in a multi-storied building. The flood waters entered from all sides and she had to seek shelter in the third floor while the water inundated the first two floors. She was finally rescued by a Navy team on the third day,” Dr Prateesh said.
In another case, a boy who got rescued along with his family after flood waters entered their house at Aluva now refuses to even take bath. “It has been days since he attended classes. He wants to shift from the area, frequently expressing fear whether the water level is increasing or not,” he said.
Meanwhile, the society is also planning long –term action to help the victims cope up with the natural disaster. “A team of counsellors and psychologists will visit houses in the most-affected Paravur region and required intervention will be done free of cost as part of the one-year continuous intervention programme,” the expert said.