Mental scars can remain – even after flood waters recede

PETALING JAYA: Natural disasters leave devastation in their wake. Lives are lost, homes are destroyed and in many cases, even when the physical damage is repaired, scars can still remain.

This is because victims often have no time to prepare, physically or mentally for the hardships natural disasters can bring, according to clinical psychologist Dr Joel Low

“This can cause significant mental distress,” said Low, who is with The Mind Psychological Services and Training.

The Star Online had asked him about the psychological impact disasters such as the recent floods that hit Malaysia’s east coast states.

Low added that those who have to start from scratch after having their entire lives swept away may be at high risk of suffering from depression.

He said that when we are confronted with physical or emotional pain, we either have the option of confronting the pain and feeling it head-on or trying to block it.

Low also added that many people have strong emotional or physical reactions following a traumatic event, with some resorting to suicide as a way to escape.

“Being forced to endure significant difficulties for extended periods makes suicide seem attractive because it acts as a way to end suffering once and for all,” said Low.

But how rough was the suffering in the recent floods? The account of Kelantan flood victim Nusrat Mohammad lends us some insight.


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