Post-disaster mental health support for kids is essential
By Blesson Samuel
The recent flash flood in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district had a devastating impact on people’s life and livelihood. Sixty-eight lives have been lost and over 136 people are still missing. The state government has initiated a process of declaring missing people by issuing a notification as “presumed dead”.
Children are the worst affected — witnessing the destruction caused by the floods has been very distressing and traumatic. Failure to address mental health and psychosocial issues post disasters, stalls a child’s development.
While the government, volunteers and humanitarian agencies are adept at dealing with the physical needs, on most occasions they miss the invisible needs of disaster survivors, such as mental health and psychosocial support, especially for children.
Many times, children’s voices go unheard. They are unable to take forward their concerns to the government and policy makers. Access to psychosocial care during humanitarian emergencies is paramount and we cannot afford to compromise on this requirement, lest there be more Anushas affected in the fallout of any disaster.
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