Mental Trauma Haunts Philippines Typhoon Survivors

Posted on November 27, 2013

Rodico Basilides visits a forlorn cross that stands as a memorial to his family who died in the catastrophic Philippine typhoon, one of countless survivors who are being forced to grieve without professional counseling.

“This is for my wife, Gladys, and four children. They were swept away by the waves,” Basilides, 42, said as he stood alongside the cross made of two sticks tied together with green string on the floor of what used to be his seaside home.

As Basilides, a mini-bus driver, left the rain-soaked ruins, he met Jovelyn Taniega, a friend who lost her husband and six children when Super Typhoon Haiyan smashed the central Philippines with unprecedented ferocity on November 8.

Amid such widespread mental trauma, the Department of Health has been able to deploy just 21 psychiatrists and psychologists, according to Bernardo Vicente, director of the government’s National Center for Mental Health.

Health workers in Tacloban say that support is not nearly enough, and the needs will likely grow as the focus of survivors shifts from putting up makeshift shelters and looking for food.

“Yes, we need psychiatrists to come and help,” said Marife Garfin, chief nurse of the Bethany Hospital in Tacloban.

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Category(s):Mental Health in Asia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Trauma / Complex PTSD

Source material from Jarkarta Globe

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