Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mental health crisis looming for tsunami survivors, warns psychologist just back from Indonesia

24.01.2005


As the death toll from the Dec. 26 earthquake and tsunami climbed above 200,000, a University of Washington psychologist who just returned from Indonesia warned of a new danger among the survivors – a mental health crisis.



"We are seeing children petrified by seeing water in a tub or cowering when large airplanes are flying overhead because they sound like rushing water," said Randall Kyes, a research associate professor of psychology and head of the division of international programs at the UW’s National Primate Research Center.

Kyes said some children had begun to stop talking and adults were beginning to experience nightmares and severe insomnia. "The critical period is now and for the next six months. You don’t meet a single person who didn’t lose someone," said Kyes, who spent a week in Banda Aceh, once a city of more than 250,000 people that was the hardest hit by the twin disasters. He worked in Indonesia helping to set up an emergency psychological trauma center and in recovering bodies of victims. "People are past the tears and the immediate loss, and now reflection sets in and trauma is beginning to surface. We are talking about hundreds of thousands of people, and that’s just in the province of Aceh. The number jumps into the millions when you consider the scope of the disaster in all of the countries involved."


Kyes has ongoing ties to Indonesia, where he has done work for 15 years. He heads a collaborative program between the UW and Bogor Agricultural University that includes research and training components, as well as an effort to conserve a number of endangered primate species. Of the 370 students from Aceh province at Bogor Agricultural University, at least 200 lost some or all of their family, their home or any hope for family assistance in completing their education.

Kyes does not specialize in clinical treatment, but has experience as a trained emergency medical technician and as a member of a national Disaster Management Advance Team that provided rescue and medical support. "When you talk about a disaster of this scale, the extent of psychological damage is enormous," he said. "Many individuals may never totally recover and will have concerns and fear that will not be completely resolved. But if people can get treatment early on, the prognosis for improvement is much better. "The real concern is for children. So many lost their families and have no support to reach out to for help. They really suffered twice, first the loss of parents and siblings and now coping with surviving the tsunami."

While in Aceh province, Kyes worked with the Indonesian relief groups Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (Ecosystem Conservation Foundation) and Media Group Posko Indonesia Menangis (Indonesia Is Crying) to set up the emergency psychology trauma center in a Banda Aceh mental hospital that was flooded by the tsunami. He conducted workshops and gave lectures to volunteers on basic education and treatment for psychological trauma and the importance of referring people to trained Indonesian mental health experts who are expected to be on hand soon. He also counseled a number of victims. "I tried to emphasize in both my workshops and in dealings with victims that experiencing trauma is normal for anyone under these extreme circumstances and should not be viewed as a sign of weakness."

He also participated in recovering bodies of victims, and expects the death toll to continue to rise, ultimately reaching as high as 300,000. Kyes said 200 to 300 bodies are still being recovered each day around Banda Aceh and he expects this to continue for two or three more months. "People didn’t drown. They were pummeled by debris in the water. There are still huge expanses of debris piled roughly 8 to 10 feet high with bodies buried in them. And there also are large tracts of land that are still flooded, making it difficult to recover bodies. I’ve done body recovery before, but the scale of this is unimaginable."

Kyes had nothing but praise for the Indonesians and the national government which is trying to operate in conditions of total chaos, often in areas where local governments have been totally wiped out. He will be returning to Indonesia this spring following a previously scheduled trip to Nepal. "The thing that surprised me the most was the extent of the devastation in human loss and to the physical loss in homes, boats and buildings. It never subsided. Every time I went out I was saying, ’My God, My God,’" Kyes said.

Joel Schwarz | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.washington.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>