Cyclone Ockhi: Folks need aid to cope with stress

Experts say children and women are the most vulnerable; church steps in.

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: One of the major challenges before the government is to provide counselling to families who have lost their dear ones to deal with the post traumatic stress. Experts say children and women are the most vulnerable. They may develop post traumatic stress like intrusive thoughts, startled response, terrified and hyper vigilance and deep sense of loss. During Tsunami disaster, the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder was as high as 60 per cent even six weeks after the incident. They suggest group counselling and individual counselling to help normalise the children.

"The families are in acute phase of bereavement. The mothers are themselves in acute state of trauma and hence they will not be able to pay much attention to their children. Group counselling will be required for families and children," said Dr Jayaprkash R., additional professor of Paediatrics and Child Psychiatrist. He said during this phase the psychological issues of children are least attended. Whether they are having food, what are they discussing, their daily activities, are they getting fearful dreams, is there tendency of hysterical behaviour , sleeplessness and fearsome dreams, all these issues need to be monitored closely.

Vicar-general of the Thiruvananthapuram archdiocese Fr Eugene H. Pereira told DC that region-wise groups have been formed to deal with trauma, medical issues and mental stress. "We are focusing on bringing affected people back to normal life and improve their mental and physical health. Doctors say special psychiatric and post traumatic stress management sessions have to be undertaken to bring the survivors to normal life. Moreover, sustained and adequate emotional support will have to be given to the victims to ensure they do not develop mental disorder.

In the case of school-going children, the teachers of their respective schools will have to keep close watch on the affected children especially during the bereavement period. Dr Jayaprkash said special camps need to be organised to help children vent out their feelings through drawing or painting. "This is known as projective test. It is to test the mind projection of individuals. After the Tsunami tragedy such exercises had helped the children to return to normal life," he added. Fr Pareira said they were collecting data of children who might require psychological, emotional and psychiatric counselling and support. "Apart from counselling, we will be closely monitoring the situation families who have lost their bread winners. The education of children would be given top priority,"he added.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story