Srinagar: People who been injured during the raging anti-India uprising have the ‘maximum chances’ of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health experts say.
“The injured people, including those who have pellet injuries, whom we counselled are developing emotions of helplessness and hopelessness. With hopelessness suicidal tendencies develop too,”said Javid Jeelani, mental health counsellor at the SMHS Hospital.
Jeelani is part of a Critical Intervention Team that has been formed on the orders of the principal Government Medical College on July 14 for providing psychological first aid and to monitor mental health of the injured.
About 200 injured people, most of them youngsters, have been interviewed at the SMHS Hospital and Bone and Joint Hospital by the CIT comprising four psychologists, two psychiatrists and two counsellors.
Another team member who requested anonymity said the people who have suffered varying degrees of vision loss due to eye pellet injuries and those who might develop disabilities due to grievous injuries are at the highest risk of developing PTSD.
“Young boys whose eyes have been damaged are having nightmares and they keep seeing that they are being shot at. Fear psychosis is sinking deep into them while they worry and keep asking ‘how will they pursue their dreams’?” Jeelani said.
The fear of being chased by police too has added to woes of the injured and CIT members say that the coming six months are crucial as such patients may need psychiatric consultation.
“We need to gear up for the future as the intensity of violence is high,” Jeelani said.
Other patients that CIT interacted with have been categorises as “low-risk PTSD” and “resilient” .
A CIT member said that one of the “resilient” patients told the team “don’t worry about me, I still have one eye and can still aim at a policeman”.
However, Jeelani adds with caution, “Psychological wounds are much dangerous and they can make lives difficult.”
The CIT counsells patients twice a week and have advised them to immediately call the team members in case nightmares persist and symptoms like irritation and behavioral changes occur.
“A person can be said to be suffering from the PTSD only after six months from the occurence of a trauma but there are maximum chances that these people will develop the symptoms so we need to prepare ourselves for such a situation,” Jeelani said.
“Home lessons too have been provided to patients have been interviewed by the CIT so that their families know what measures need to be taken when encountering any symptom of psychological disturbance,” he added.