Distress, upset, guilt, anger, scared?
What exactly do you feel at the wake of N. Babysana’s case?
By Thoibi, Clinical Psychologist
These are questions we should actually ask her friends, classmates, boarding mates including the rest of the students are forcefully subjected to school being shut down after the incident.
Whatever happened is considered a Traumatic/ Psychological traumatic event which by definition is a deeply distressing or disturbing experience. It is a type of damage to the mind that occurs as a result of that distressing event and is often the result of an overwhelming amount of stress that exceeds one’s ability to cope, or integrate the emotions involved with that experience.
Most people who go through such kind of traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with daily functioning then it is likely the person is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.Getting timely help and psychological support is very critical and may prevent normal stress reactions from getting worse and developing into PTSD. This may mean turning to professional help for a brief course of therapy, supportive family and friends who will listen and offer comfort. It may mean seeking out a mental health professional for a brief course of therapy. Failing which people can resort to even unhealthy coping methods like misuse of substance and even self harm since having PTSD symptoms may also increase the risk of other mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety.
While the public uproar is to bring justice to the departed soul and the bereaving family, little is being done for the other students who are directly at the receiving end of the traumatic incident.
Babysana died in a dormitory where 36 other students are co-habitating and these children are subjected to the unfortunate incident for no fault of theirs. By virtue of being witnesses to the crime scene, they are subjected to the sequence of events that follows which even includes severing their social interaction in school by shutting down the school and halting their academic routine. What makes it more compelling and traumatic as an event is the mystery shrouding the case. The protests and the agitations having the potential to incite more hatred, aggression and even the tendency for contagion suicide where similar such incidences can happen due to over exposure of an incident. Unchecked propagation of this turn of events can be a serious trigger for vulnerable children and may make attempts for self harm and injury.
Have there been any steps undertaken from the school or the authority to pacify the acute stress of the children and take stock of the situation?
Doesn’t this situation call for a Psychological First Aid wherein necessary trauma focused interventions should follow?
It is a resounding No! and we fail as responsible adults here.
These Psychological First Aids, which is a systematic set of helping actions aimed at reducing initial post-trauma distress and supporting short- and long-term adaptive functioning through some core actions which include ensuring safety, stabilization, practical assistance, social connection for support and collaborative services wherever necessary is infact the fundamental right of the students who have met such unfortunate fates but what can we expect from a state that even lacks a Child Policy in place to start with?
Who else empathise with the parents of the children who are in their own capacity dealing with the fear and nightmares of their horrid experience as they witness one of their friends dead? Do they deserve their wards’ being tormented this way? What about the teachers, the other staffs of the school who doesn’t teach?
Many a questions are left unanswered and subjected to more doubt. The people’s protest sounds totally legit and justified but are they being directed to the right directions. Justice will prevail but at what cost?
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