Trabzon University University Psychological Counseling and Guidance (PDR) Director Application and Research Center Assoc. Dr. Fatma Altun Kobul said those affected by the earthquakes in Kahramanmaraş, which had devastating effects in 10 provinces, should pay attention to their mental health because of the disaster.
Assoc states that the effect of the earthquake manifests itself in people with different reactions. Dr. Kobul said the symptoms of anxiety that may emerge after the disaster are temporary. associate Dr. “Extreme feelings of helplessness and insecurity are the mainstays of the post-earthquake response,” Kobul said. It is common and normal for people to react instantly, get away from their daily activities and behave like insomnia, loss of appetite, tension and irritability. This is part of the process. We can experience all of these; however, they may produce different results in individuals depending on different effect levels, intensity and severity. As adults we need to know that the symptoms of anxiety i.e. palpitations, sweating, shaking and feeling like you are going to die, the feeling of suffocation are a normal part of this process and they are temporary. Loss of appetite, insomnia and loss of interest in daily activities are normal. We do not recommend the use of drugs or alcohol for this,” he said.
“RETURN TO YOUR ROUTINE”
Kobul stated that individuals affected by the earthquake may experience a decline in their self-care skills, causing them to stop doing their day jobs, saying, “Return to your normal routine and try to go about your activities. We may need a constant screen light to follow the news. This need arises naturally in individuals with a sense of helplessness and a sense of doing something. But reducing screen exposure and trying to get back to routines is one of the things we’ll be doing. Sharing your experiences and feelings with your family members, having social support, and being in a relationship with those around you seem to be a protective factor.
‘WE NEED TO FORESEE SAFETY NEEDS’
Kobul stated that there may be differences in the degree of children’s exposure to earthquakes and they may exhibit different behaviors, Kobul said: “A callousness and misunderstanding of events can sometimes be observed in children. Sometimes a feeling of extreme fear and helplessness can be observed. They may need to express their feelings about what is going on around them. As parents, we must meet their safety needs. It is the most common safety-related situation in children. Here, touching the child, being with the child, hugging and touching is one of the things we should do first. Apart from this, let the child express his feelings, patiently answer the repeated questions, keep children away from the screens; but it is necessary to ensure that children are well aware of the events, such as ‘What is an earthquake, what is not’. Children can also develop feelings of guilt. There may be children who think the earthquake was because of them. It would be helpful to make statements that they are not guilty. If symptoms persist for more than two weeks in both children and adults, professional psychological support is needed if normalization is not achieved.