Bihar foods: People's mental well-being not being given the attention it deserves

Dr Onkar Mittal draws attention to the mental health aspect of people affected by the floods - something he feels is not getting attention in the current response

A very large number of people are emotionally traumatized, constantly crying non-stop and in a state of utter shock. At least definite reports of suicide by a woman has also been received by me. I will appeal to you that a psycho-social help intervention should be higher in the order of priority.

I followed up the issue with my friend in Patna, Shri Raghupati Ji. He said that yesterday there was a front page news in Dainik Hindustan regarding a person who last all his children and family in the floods. He was in a state of shock and was trying to play with some children, in insane condition, thinking that these were his children. The people thought that he was a child lifter and he was given a severe beating and handed over to Police. My heart breaks even thining of such a pathetic story.

On net, I saw there is a lot of material published by  American Red Cross to deal with this kind of situation. It may not be very difficult for the NGO coordinator of Govt. Of Bihar, in consulation with UNICEF  to call a meeting of the bigger NGOs and discuss this issue and provide quick training to NGO volunteeers across the state. I can join humbly as a volunteer in this effort, if that may be of any use, even though I am not a subject specialist.

It may be appropriate to add further, that Bihar Government's relief programmes are camp based. Over the last few days, slowly the camps are increasing in numbers, which seem to be a good thing. However,  the Bihar Government is not reaching with relief to people who are stranded in different places, and  a large majority of people are of this kind. To me, this is a major issue but I do not know how to raise it in a manner that is constructive. Perhaps you can take it up, based on other feedback available to you.


Dr. Onkar Mittal,
National Convener,
Swasthya Neeti Samvad ( Forum for Health Policy Dialogue)
Tel: +91-98-181-10784 (mob)


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