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Thursday, May 28, 2015


One month ago today, Nepal was struck with a 7.5 magnitude earthquake: destroying homes, businesses, villages, and consequently the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of Nepalese people. The Guardian's recent publication: "Nepal one month after the quake: ' The emotional impact has been devastating", spells-out in great detail the impact the quake has had on the locals. Sam Jones, who is the author, tells a compelling story about a woman's initial fright while her home and the buildings around her crumbled by the shock. How, when a community is devastated by disaster, the people can come together to support one-another. However, while they can support each other emotionally, help is urgently needed by the international community.   

The UN estimates that while international aid has started to arrive, 1.4 million dollars is needed to supply food, water, and other necessities to the many effected within the 39 districts, including the 11 districts that were most severely hurt.

Financial help is of great importance, yet many fail to realize - or at the very least, do not discuss it at great lengths - the impact on mental health of displaced victims of natural disasters. This crucial step in the identification of mental health  is the focus within Nilamadhab Kar's study: "Natural Disasters In Developing Countries: Mental Health Issues".

It is suggested by Kar, cultural differences regarding the perception of stress, resilience and coping are well known. These factors also effect the prevalence of psychiatric morbidity following such disasters. Kar's study brings to light a previous study by Telles et al., which suggests that acute psychological effects, specifically the risk of post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) and depression, were found to be more prevalent within the elderly population who had lived through a natural or man-made disaster. Elderly people, according to Kar, are one of the most vulnerable groups for post-disaster psychiatric morbidity.  

After the Tsunami disaster in the Andamans, in the early post-disaster phases, significant mental health problems were recorded. Similarly, 3 months after Orissa super-cyclone, 50% of the victims were reported of having post-traumatic stress symptoms. Further, long-term post-disaster studies in India  have also reported a considerable amount of psychiatric morbidity in the victims, comprising mostly of post-traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety disorders.

Kar goes on to suggest that observations of the study by Telles et al. reemphasize that systematic screenings of the victims in the disaster-affected areas are preferable to routine clinical evaluation. Otherwise many victims may suffer in silence, rather than seek psychological help, due to the cultural stigma attached to mental health. It is also suggested that while it is pertinent to conduct post-disaster studies, arranging such studies can be difficult considering the ground realities in the immediate aftermath of disasters. Yet, data-gathering should be an integral part of disaster relief and support work, which will improve overall knowledge for better care of victims of natural and man-made disasters.

Donations for the relief efforts in Nepal can be given to the Red Cross or any of the many other organizations providing help on the ground.  

For this journal and others from this issue, click here.


Blogger creative biomart said...

This is Caroline from Creative BioMart. (http://www.creativebiomart.net/). Your blog has made me think. Natural diaster indeed is terrible. what we should do is to help each other.

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Blogger Unknown said...

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