Firearm victims ‘scarred with depression’: Psychiatrists

The Crisis Intervention Team constituted by Government Medical College Srinagar to cater to mental health needs of victims of firearm injuries is concerned about the “depressive symptoms” in the injured.
Firearm victims ‘scarred with depression’: Psychiatrists
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The Crisis Intervention Team constituted by Government Medical College Srinagar to cater to mental health needs of victims of firearm injuries is concerned about the "depressive symptoms" in the injured.

Doctors said many of the injured have serious symptoms which need psychiatric intervention. "We put some of the injured on medication because they had serious psychiatric symptoms," said Dr Maqbool Dar, Head of Psychiatry department at GMC Srinagar.

A CIT member said the victims are worried about their future. "The thoughts of losing out on their studies haunt them," he said. "A number of victims with pellet injuries in eyes fear they won't be able to continue with their studies the way they wanted."

 "They are getting depressed. It is expected," said another CIT member.

Doctors said many injured suffer from panic, anxiety and palpitation. "The wounds on the body might heal fast, but their minds have been scarred forever," said a doctor at SMHS hospital here.

The Crisis Intervention Team has been constituted to provide psycho-social counselling support to the victims of firearm injuries in the wake of huge number of children and teenagers ending up with risk of losing their eyesight.

"We have hundreds of victims here, each with a different set of problems and injuries. Each of them needs a separate support system," the CIT members said.

The team consists of two Psychiatrists, four Psychologists and two Counsellors and has been divided into two groups—one for SMHS Hospital and the other for Bone and Joints Hospital.

The team members feel that 'next two months' would be crucial and maximum support needs to be provided to the injured.

"In two months, these children and adults will realize what the injury has done to them. And then they will need to cope up with the situation accordingly," they said.

The team said many injured were headed for 'some disability' and needed to be looked into. "Right now they are hopeful. They get friends and sense of belonging when they are in the hospital. This helps them overcome trauma symptoms and the fear of future," the doctors said. "However, when they leave the hospital and are at their homes alone with their families, what will their mental state be? What will their mental state be when they realise that they will have a disability for life."

GMC doctors feel that the psycho-social intervention needs to be long-term to "achieve some results."

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