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Resource id #4 I.C.M.R. Study to evaluate mental health of tsunami-hit people - Volume 3 Issue 11: Disability News and Information Service for India

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Volume 3 Issue 11 - June 01, 2005

I.C.M.R. Study to evaluate mental health of tsunami-hit people

DNIS News Network- Natural disasters and calamities not only take a heavy toll on life and property, but also on the psyche of the survivors. The Asian tsunami, rated as the greatest human disaster in human history due to its sheer scale, has left millions scarred.

Tsunami victims suffer from mental trauma

To make an empirical assessment of the extent of damage caused to the mental health of the affected people, the Indian Council for Medical Research (I.C.M.R.) has sanctioned a study to map mental health scenario in the tsunami-hit districts of Tamil Nadu.

The study, “Mental health-needs assessment and service delivery model in tsunami-hit districts of coastal Tamil Nadu”, is aimed at conducting qualitative research to evaluate the mental health of those affected by the tsunami. The project, with S. Nambi as the principal investigator, will not only look into incidence of post-traumatic stress disorder, immediately connected with the disaster, but also other depressive disorders, like alcoholism and exacerbation of mental illness. Coping mechanisms and response will also be assessed, along with the status of mental health services available in these areas. The study will examine the feasibility of integrating the components of mental health service delivery models into general health and other relief material.

Research teams will develop models for psychological and emotional support for those involved in relief activities, and assess public satisfaction with the mental health services and other relief measures during disaster management.

Four centres have been set up in Tamil Nadu - Chennai, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Kanyakumari - but the entire region touched by the tsunami will be surveyed to assess the extent of the problem and the form it takes in various villages. The participants and experts for the study will be drawn from district medical colleges, and locals will anchor the study at unit level in each unit, so that it will be sensitive to the unique socio-cultural features of the community in those areas.

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