Psychiatrist Dr. Haluk Aksu provided psychological support to the citizens affected by the 7.7 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes, of which Kahramanmaraş is the epicenter. Aksu said: “One of the first things we can suggest to traumatized people is to help people get back to their normal lives. Certain feelings begin to develop in people who have been subjected to such great trauma. First, they feel powerless. They are in grief, fear and anxiety. Because they lost someone. We call most emotional symptoms an acute stress response. Many of these early period symptoms are a series of emotions that we expect. It can take up to a month. These are stimuli that occur in many people in a dangerous situation. With the necessary social support and various interventions to heal, most people usually get over it, but unfortunately some of them, especially those with underlying psychiatric conditions and those who don’t have many support systems, will not be able to remove the traces of these traumas and the return to another chronic illness, which we call post-traumatic stress disorder, will begin. “Then we will have to follow several additional pathways in addition to psychosocial support systems, such as psychotherapy and drug therapy.”
“We must also provide psychosocial support to the teams”
Emphasizing that the teams going to the region may also need support, Aksu said:
“People who help in this area are more likely to be traumatized. Therefore, these people need a rest now and then and the working conditions there need to be improved. We must provide psychosocial support to people who are waiting for the relatives of those who are waiting under the rubble or who have lost their relatives. When families have been rescued together in an earthquake, we try not to separate families because if they maintain their social bond, the effects of trauma are relatively easier to deal with. They must be well informed by the environment. After the earthquake there is a lot of information pollution. The most important thing is to let the people there know that they are safe.”
“We advise them to follow the print media”
Aksu suggested the print media to those who want to follow the region: “A group of people who follow the trauma through various social communication means are also affected spiritually. Even if we don’t experience trauma, when we see the trauma, we can experience similar symptoms to this trauma. Therefore, we recommend that they follow the information in the written media more closely. Sometimes people feel guilty. It’s like he thinks he can’t help those people if he doesn’t look. “There are too many people who follow the region too much and have mental health problems,” he said.