Post #KeralaFloods Rehabilitation: Psychological First Aid for the Affected

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
The worst of the Kerala floods is over, leaving the state devastated in a manner not seen in nearly a century. The loss across most districts of God's Own Country runs into thousands of crores financially and perhaps a lot more, emotionally and psychologically.

But now is not the time to rest. Because, as the floods finally retreat, it is now time to rebuild. It is time to undo the damage.

Understanding that this is a vast topic, I am posting a series of articles here specific to various aspects of flood relief. I have been aided in this by my dear friend and classmate of old, Dr Reshma, a specialist in Community Medicine alongside guidance notes provided by the Directorate of Health Sciences, Kerala.

The topic in this post is:


The key is to accept that things will not return to normal overnight, but they will eventually. Kerala, the entire country and even beyond is working hard to help you. With regard to providing a balm for the mental agony and stress, here are a few points: 

1. Counselling is to be provided by psychologists / trained personnel.

2. Give and receive psychological first aid without inhibition. Encourage people to seek help if you feel they are displaying signs of mental disorders or depression.

3. The affected have lost a lot that is important to them - loved ones, treasured personal belongings, a significant portion of their life savings. Keep that in mind and be gentle with them while interacting with them.

4. The mental health of responders and health care personnel should also be considered here.

5. Anticipate long term issues, including depression and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and plan in advance.

6. Prompt restoration of communities and social structure is vital in preventing long term disorders.

7. Children fear what they cannot understand. Knowing the facts can help children deal with a disaster better.

8. For people on medication prior to the flood, all efforts must be made to help them restart their medication course at the earliest.

Post flood rehabilition: Steps for Providing psychological aid to the affected
The steps are also compiled in this easy-to-save image which can be pinned or saved for future use.

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Let me know what you think.

  1. A great article to help people cope with what they have lost. It's such an important thing that many of us ignore or don't realize on trauma and sense of loss.

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