Specialized clinical psychologist Başak Mutlu said: “Disasters are both psychologically harmful and physical experiences. Since our foresight and confidence have been shaken by the earthquake, it is normal to have difficulties in understanding and coping with the situation at first. In addition to those who were exposed to the event after traumatic events; Witnesses, family members of victims, and people involved in relief efforts may also show signs of traumatic stress. Emotional reactions such as shock, denial, sadness, anger and guilt can be seen; Physical reactions such as chest tightness, shortness of breath, stomach problems, startling easily, fatigue and headache can also be seen.
People may exhibit behaviors such as difficulty sleeping, changes in appetite, and alienation from the social environment. All these reactions are considered ‘normal reactions to an abnormal event’ in the first weeks and the complaints are expected to disappear spontaneously over time. In this process, it is important to try to continue the old routine as much as possible and to pay attention to nutrition and rest. Sharing is more helpful than suppressing feelings or trying to forget what happened. The acceptance of what happened seeps through. In this process, it is perfectly normal for some days to be more difficult and some days to be easier. If the psychological effects increase rather than decrease over time and continue to negatively impact the person’s social, work and family life; In this case, it is necessary to seek help from a mental health professional without wasting time.
Provide information on how to apply psychological first aid to earthquakes, Uzm. PS. Başak Mutlu said, “First of all, the traumatized people should be removed from that environment. You must provide the person with a safe environment and allow them to explain the trauma with understanding. You must provide the person with a safe environment and allow them to talk about their experiences with understanding. If the person says they don’t want to talk, don’t be persistent and give them time to process what they’re going through. ” he said.
Emphasizing that the approach of children in trauma processes is different from that of adults, Mutlu said, “Children need to be approached sensitively after natural disasters. Adults should take care not to give speeches that could frighten them in front of children and not expose them to earthquake news. Adults should not avoid talking when children want to share their thoughts about the event. Children can misinterpret what they see and hear. It is important to know what concerns them and to provide the necessary explanations. Statements should be away from abstract expressions, in understandable words and without lies. It’s important to communicate simply and grow old the right way, making sure you don’t intimidate. Fairy tales and toys can be used.
“There won’t be any earthquakes here.” Don’t make promises you might not be able to keep, such as “it won’t happen to us.” Instead, you can explain that your home is solid and safe and that you are ready to protect it from danger. “Don’t be afraid”, “don’t cry”, “You have to be strong” offers are useless. On the contrary, it can make the child feel bad. It will be more comforting to reassure him that you can listen to him when he’s feeling down instead of using these phrases. Kids can sometimes ask the same questions over and over. It is necessary to answer their questions patiently and consistently. Since the consequences of traumatic events are an expected situation, it is early to request psychotherapeutic support in the first few weeks. However, if the person exhibits self-injurious behavior and has a risk-taking attitude, shows radical behavior and attitude changes, and if the symptoms increase instead of decrease, a referral can be made,” he said.