Gaja victims facing sleeplessness, palpitations, crying spells: IMH team
MANY survivors of Cyclone Gaja are suffering from psychological disorders resulting in sleeplessness and palpitations, a team of psychiatrists from the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) has found.
The team of 11 psychiatrists from the Chennai institute, headed by Dr Aravindan, is undertaking post-disaster assessments among cyclone victims in the affected areas of Pudukkottai district on a request from district mental health programme officer R Karthik Deivanayagam. The team is recording victim accounts. Assessment will continue in Pudukkottai, before shifting to three other districts.
“Most people are still unable to come out of the traumatic experiences caused by the cyclone. Vulnerability has escalated among the already vulnerable sections. Marginal farmers who availed jewel loans are worried as they are uncertain as to whether they can get back mortgaged jewels. Women, whose husbands are dependent on alcohol, are in a panic as they are the sole bread-winners. Family members of persons with mental disabilities are in greater depression,” Aravindan said.
“The major complaints are sleeplessness, palpitations, restlessness and crying spells. Some are saying they are unable to sleep even for two hours a day. This is more among middle-aged persons. Survival fear has gripped them,” Karthik Deivanayagam said.
The team will do follow-up assessments a few weeks later. IMH plans to bring out a locally-relevant module on post-disaster psychological first-aid which it will use to train doctors at government hospitals and primary health centres.