Coping with trauma

Relief and rehabilitation work is okay, but dealing with the trauma is more important, for which restoration of peace is required.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 12 Feb 2024, 4:23 am

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For the general population of Manipur, it is one after another. After the Covid-19 pandemic, the present crisis in the state has become a great cause of concern for the mental health of the general population especially among children and the teenage youths. Once again, social life has become so traumatic that people plan by the day as nobody knows what would happen in the next minute or the next day.

During the pandemic, social life had changed drastically at the individual level as well as at the family and community level, either for a better or bleaker future. The favourite past-times and work had been thrown out of gear. But, it is the youth who is suffering most whose life has been interrupted with unprecedented restrictions. The boredom associated with the monotony of the lockdown and inactivity had dulled the innovative nature of the youth, and life for them had been reduced to a window of the mobile phone and internet with its games and movies.

Life in Covid-19 times was a frustrating experience for the youth and the students, also due to lack of peer interaction and inaction. Faced with new realities and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues, mental health of individuals particularly the children had taken a toll. As soon as the ethnic strife erupted, the state government shut down all educational institutions including schools. Schools and colleges were made to accommodate the large number of paramilitary forces personnel while relief camps were opened in some of them.


Nobody knows when the schools would be vacated as reinforcement of central paramilitary forces never stopped coming. Manipur had never seen such a heavy deployment of central forces at one time. Even during the height of insurgency, the state did not have such a heavy presence of paramilitary and security forces. The constant state of conflict situation in the state in the late 70s, 80s and 90s had adversely affected the mental health of the general population to such an extent that generations have been going through a collective trauma besides depression and hopelessness at the individual level.

Corruption at every level and the prevalence of drug addiction among the young have added to the general malaise. Now, the double jeopardy of the pandemic and the present crisis is certainly going to have far reaching consequences in the coming years.

The case of a 14-year-old student collapsing and dying in his boarding home overwhelmed at the sight of his parents after a long time is a case in point of the trauma that is being faced by today’s children. The deceased student was from Ikou Bazar under Saikul police station in Kangpokpi district, which happened to be a constant target for militant attacks. Their house was among the many burnt by armed militants in the early days of the ethnic strife and the family including his parents and grandparents had to flee for their lives.

While his family members stayed at Naorem Birahari College in Khundrakpam, while he and his little sister were forced to stay at Success School boarding in Chingarel Tezpur in Imphal East District. Imagine the plight of the children and trauma faced by them as they look at an uncertain future and their family trying to make both ends meet with no home and property and expenses to bear for their children and family.


The parents had come to the boarding home to collect their children as they were selected for a slot in the prefabricated shelter home near Sajiwa Jail, in the hopes of building a new life till they get to return to their original home at Ikou Bazar. And the tragedy struck as if a bolt from the blue. The trauma is not his alone, but hundreds of other children staying in the relief camps are facing the same.

What has the government got to offer except two square meals, a place to sleep and other relief materials? There is no provision for providing mental solace and a hope for their children. How to deal with the collective trauma faced by this generation as still there is no solution in sight or a light at the end of the dark tunnel? Relief and rehabilitation work is okay, but dealing with the trauma is more important, for which restoration of peace is required.



First published:


mental healthmanipur crisismanipur conflict

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur


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