#MaharashtraFloods: Traumatic events linger on in the mind of flood victims

As the floodwaters recede in Kolhapur and Sangli, the traumatic experiences remain embedded in the minds of people who have been worst affected by the floods. While it is easier to conquer physical illness, it takes time for the scars of such disastrous events to heal. As doctors focus on the patients' physical ills, it is also important to look after the mental health of people

As the floodwaters recede people begin to clean-up their houses
As the floodwaters recede people begin to clean-up their houses

As the floodwater has receded from majority parts of Sangli and Kolhapur districts, people are trying to settle down and return to normalcy in their homes and villages. The clean-up work has started. Material donations have happened. Medical help is being provided.

But many people are suffering from issues of depression, anxiety, stress and fear. Post-flood when people’s houses, agricultural land and shops have been destroyed, they have been suffering from mental health issues.

Ramesh Satpute, a resident of Islampur, said, “I have lost house and my farmland. It will take two to three years for my farmland to become productive again. I am 43-years-old now. I have three children and in total six people are dependent on me. But I feel devastated now. I don’t have any energy to start everything again. I just feel like crying all the time.”

Experts who are working in those areas said that there are who are facing the same problems as Ramesh is.

There are psychiatrists on ground who are working to improve the situation. Counselling sessions are being offered to patients while they are being physically examined.

Dr Rahul More, Psychiatrist, who is working in Islampur taluka, said, “We are seeing post-traumatic stress disorder and cases related to it. There is fear. People don’t want to go to their houses. While some people are just crying continuously, some are not talking at all. They have become silent. There is anxiety about what will happen in future.”

Dr More added, “Many are opening up to us when we talk with them. Some are becoming bold enough to fight it. They are saying we will face this and they are also motivating others.”

Any trauma is followed by stress, depression, anxiety etc. Some doctors along with other volunteers are arranging street plays for flood affected people. Through these plays they are delivering a motivating people to work to settle down in their lives.

Dr Rushikesh Andhalkar, who is offering healthcare and other social services to flood affected people, said, “People have emotionally become weak. Through street plays we are working to make them mentally strong again. There is fear. People don’t wish to go back to their houses or farmlands. They are unable to gather courage to start their life again.”