BENGALURU:To help flood-affected people fight post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) is sending its experts to Kerala and Kodagu district in the state. Ten teams consisting of a psychiatrist, a clinical psychologist and psychiatric social workers are expected to land in Kerala by Thursday and provide psychosocial first aid to those staying in the relief camps as well as in the community.
They will also train a group of volunteers so that a large number of people can be reached in a short time.
“We got calls from Kerala Health Ministry, Social Welfare Department and Women and Child Welfare Department asking us to provide psychosocial first aid for all those in the relief camps. They have asked us to concentrate more on six worst-affected districts,” Dr K Sekar, professor, Psychiatric-Social-Work and Registrar, NIMHANS told The New Indian Express. The Centre too has directed NIMHANS to immediately send teams to Kerala to provide psychosocial first aid for the next two to three weeks, and then take over psychosocial care component and need assessment.
“According to our initial assessment, there is large amount of resilience among Keralites and they are going to bounce back much better than those in any other state,” said Dr Sekar. “Self-help is the best and they have the capacity. The only problem is that they are slumping a bit, but that is the normal reaction in an abnormal situation.”
NIMHANS director and vice-chancellor Dr BN Gangadhar said they have to make sure that people are trained in the locality to help others deal with post-traumatic stress disorder as some of them may not be able to handle stress. It is important to provide moral, emotional and pyschosocial support to people in distress, he added. In Kerala, the NIMHANS teams will work closely with 14 psychiatrists working with district mental health programme and the local health department officials.The institute is also sending a team to Kodagu though there is no request from the state government or any other agency for the same.