Print Edition - 2015-06-14 | Main News
Worries, trauma hit mental health
- Quake-hit people
Jun 13, 2015-
The counseling services run by the Ministry of Health and Population in the 14 districts worst affected by the earthquake portray a grim picture of mental health as the people are still struggling to live normal lives.
Psychiatrists deployed in the districts including Sindhupalchok, Nuwakot and Dhading said the people are still reeling under intense fear and anxiety while for some the condition has exacerbated to mental illness.
A large number of people have suffered multiple losses, combined with physical exposure to danger and are now without resources. They have been terrified by the initial quake and continue to suffer acute anxiety with continuing aftershocks. Two quakes on April 25 and May 12 killed nearly 9,000 people and destroyed more than 500,000 homes, affecting an estimated 2.8 million people across Nepal.
The Department of Psychiatry at the Institute of Medicine of Tribhuvan University has deployed a team in Sindhupalchok, where the destruction was most severe, and doctors from Mental Hospital, Lagankhel have been working in Nuwakot and Dhading districts at the ministry’s command.
In its bid to help people cope with the disaster and return to normalcy, the ministry began counseling services in the affected areas a month ago.
Dr Saroj Ojha, psychiatrist at the IoM, said people are complaining of constant fear and anxiety. Many of them had lost their family members or relatives besides property. “Many children are also living with trauma,” said Dr Ojha.
Psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and medics from the IoM have been providing care in Sindhupalchok for two weeks. Every week, a fresh team of experts replaces the team. They have identified two severe cases of mental illness and the patients are being treated at the TU Teaching Hospital. “For many, the response is a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. But in some people, the fear persists so long that it develops into an illness,” said Dr Ojha.
The Mental Hospital operated a camp in Dhading for a month while another team of psychiatrists and psychologists is now based in Nuwakot.
“Continued aftershocks are taking their toll. People are living in uncertainty and some have been left disoriented,” said Dr Surendra Sherchan, director of the Mental Hospital.
To help people cope with their problems, the counselors first try to figure out the problem. Then they talk to the people on the matter. Doctors advise people to remain engaged and occupied in order to ease stress.
Published: 14-06-2015 08:34