Madikeri: While the unprecedented loss of life and property during floods has caused severe damage to the physical health of people, the infliction of extreme psychological trauma at the time of a natural calamity of this magnitude is equally alarming.
In order to address the mental health of flood victims who were stranded and suffered irrevocable losses in the face of the catastrophe, the National Health Comission along with Kodagu Institute of Medical Sciences have set up a team of psychologists for counselling.
Starting from Kodagu, this team of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and other doctors will provide victims with adequate therapy in the form of spreading positive reassuring information in order to avoid mass hysteria and negative behavourial patterns.
Speaking to News18, Roopesh Goapl, assistant professor, Department of Kodagu Medical Sciences said that there are over 50 psychologists, psychiatrists and graduates of Social Work who are engaged in the counseling of victims across Kodagu district.
“We have divided Kodagu into two parts, one as Red zone where heavy rains completely lashed away everything and another is Green zone where people are not much affected. In the beginning we aired a show in All India Radio about how to fight these situations and what positive activities are being carried out by the government,” Said Dr Roopesh.
The victims are constantly told about the rescue work being carried out on the roads, giving details about the roads which have been made accessible again, as people are in a constant need to know whether their houses are accessible again or not.
This is done in order to avoid any feelings of abandonment in the people, and is a process of “ shaping and flooding” in psychiatric jargon, Dr Roopesh added.
In addition to this, the district Hospital is fully geared to tackle all kinds of situations, with all the necessary equipment, medicines and specialists in place.
The team is giving toys, crayons, colour pencils and other such items to children to make them feel comfortable. “We are making children dance, sing and play so that they will get rid of the nightmare of floods,” Dr Roopesh said.
Each woman who is shifted to ‘Ganji Kendra’ relief camps is counseled by specialists. Movies are also screened in relief camps to encourage and rejuvenate the victims. As per the psychologists these activities help in distracting the vistims.
“Every day new volunteers are knocking on our doors. But we are taking only those who are graduates of Social work and doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists.”
“Today we have completed training of 35 volunteers and send them to different Ganji Kendras. Once the relief camps are closed , we will visit door to door to continue the counseling process. We know it is a continuous process and we will continue till the victims come back to normal,” Dr Roopesh said.