Monday, 2 December 2013

The psychological aftermath,



The news, no matter what day of the week, month or year is predominantly reporting disasters in some form. Natural or manmade the results are the same.

In Australia a variety of disasters, occur each year caused by bush fire, flood, drought and cyclones. The cost of disaster is not only measured in the property, crops and business that is lost, but also the human cost, the loss of lives. The psychological trauma however is less widely reported and publicised.

How do you cope or deal with the loss of very personal possessions, which cannot be replaced? I refer here to gifts that children make for their parents during their school years, hand crafted Birthday cards, homemade gifts, locks of baby's first haircut, etc. The process of grieving for these lost precious items and memories is immeasurable.

Whatever the item, if it has no monetary value it is labelled as insignificant as the bureaucratic process of dealing with disaster begins. Bureaucracy decides what is 'important and significant' and ultimately valuable.

Across the world people lose their family members, pets, property, possessions and precious items in horrific circumstances. After the initial wave of aid or assistance has been given, and they have relocated and need to start rebuilding their lives, they then have to deal with the personal psychological cost.

It is becoming a sad fact that natural disasters like floods, fires and cyclones are going to be progressively more common. However, the Australian Psychological Society is effecting support networks within Australian communities to enable them to be ready and prepared psychologically, for extreme weather emergencies, to facilitate a better chance of recovery post event. They collaborate with the Red Cross, to develop resources and training that will prepare people for future events. 

The sense of loss, not always felt until the shock has lifted is ever present, and at times like Christmas and birthdays, it stirs in your soul.

‘Time is a great healer,’ this is a very true saying, but some things take more time than others, so patience, a virtuous quality, is needed for those affected and those around them.