In action today, if so many people are shocked and panicked by what they have experienced, how can we mentally imagine the coming weeks, months, and years? Answers by Adelaide Blavier, Doctor of Psychology, Professor of Ulysses, and Specialist in Psycho Trauma
How much impact did the floods have on the people of our country?
When considering catastrophic or catastrophic events, floods and any other natural disasters in general are obviously impacting events. However, compared to other situations, the fact that these are collective events is fortunately a protective factor. The fact is that there is no human activity or intent to harm here. We know that the likelihood of an impact is lower here, for example, compared to an attack. Similarly, compared to individual events, collective behavior is less protected. In addition, with all the attention given by the media, emergency services, etc., all of these factors can provide some protection from the development of an impact.
If some people seem to have forgotten …
If you wait 36 hours for help in your home, it can definitely have an adverse effect. This long wait is an additional and important risk factor for later impact development. The most vulnerable people are those who have been waiting for help for a long time and who have suffered the most material damage.
How traumatic are the physical losses?
We know that the loss of landmarks and physical safety after the destruction of water is a very important impact factor. When people experience a traumatic event, they generally return to a more secure environment where they can find their bearings. Somehow we go back to “your furniture”. However, here, all of this familiar environment has precisely disappeared. Returning home is not a return to safety. On the contrary, they find a desolate landscape. This obviously can have a double impact on these people.
To what extent do all the supporting elements play a role?
We know that all support elements, including relatives, neighbors, first aid workers, firefighters, police officers, and politicians, play an important role in preventing short-term injuries.
In the long run?
Victims often find it difficult because after a while they seem to have forgotten. Within a month, we will no longer talk about the many people who have not yet found their homes and are facing material difficulties. The problem for medium and long-term victims is the question of the long-term support of not only relatives but also insurance …
What happens when the situation continues?
This can lead to secondary victimization. At that moment, the individual no longer has to feel the victim of the first event, here the flood, but the functioning of the system and society. This secondary victim can increase and maintain traumatic symptomatology. For these people, we see that the discourse initially revolves around the first event, but when there is no response to their expectations in the following months or years, they do not speak. Than problems or disputes in insurance, for example. This element of secondary victimization actually leads to a series of heart attacks, especially nightmares… Here, society has a role to play in avoiding this secondary victimization.
Today we are in action, and it certainly plays a protective role. What about post-traumatic symptoms?
It is true that action often has a protective effect. When a traumatic event occurs, people who are observers and spectators are more likely to have an impact than actors. We are always busy with this management in the event and in the aftermath of the event, sometimes in the form of survival. It is only after these questions have been resolved that some people develop post-traumatic symptoms.
In 1771 the Red Cross recorded a crisis, especially for those in need of mental assistance. What are the do’s and don’ts of telling victims?
The first important thing is to pay attention to the person and definitely not try to play. In this case, the loss is sure to be very different from one person to another. Some have a flooded cellar and others a dilapidated house. But it is important to be able to hear everyone’s anxiety, suffering, and fear. You need to be able to identify what the person really felt and their feelings related to what they experienced at the event. You need to bring that person back here and now. For example, identify their resources at the level of those around them.
What if the nightmares or intrusive thoughts last for weeks?
Therefore, it is important to think about approaching a psychiatrist so that the traumatic situation can be resolved as soon as possible. When it comes to psycho trauma, you need to be active without being forced. We try to reach out to victims, especially psychiatrists, rather than waiting for them to intervene. Many people try to prevent and think too late when the symptoms are already permanent. You do not need to engage in long-term therapy. Talking on the phone for an hour during a crisis can be very helpful. The Red Cross number is fundamental to providing easy and quick access to victims. But many have to say they are equally ized, and if many are going to be shocked, they are disappointed; People who are already more socially, mentally and financially vulnerable are at higher risk, but fortunately there is no psychological trauma.