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AMHHR calls on government to provide long-term psychological aid affected persons

August 17, 2017 

Advocacy for Mental Health and Human Rights-AMHHR, has in a press release called on government and other stakeholders to provide long-term psychological aid to help those affected to deal with their trauma.

“We are gravely concerned about the psychological impact of this unprecedented situation in the country and express our sincere condolences to the bereaved relatives, friends and the people of Sierra Leone for the loss of lives and grief they are presently going through,” the release noted.

It observed that the loss of lives is devastating and the injuries experienced by survivors and their rescuers will not only be physical but psychological.

“Those who have survived this disaster are not the only people who would suffer the consequences.  Individual(s) who were on the scene at the time of the flood/landslide or who witnessed the immediate aftermath such as first responders—including rescue workers, volunteers as well as news reporters may also experience psychological symptoms. This can be in the form of extreme stress, anxiety and depression, fear and feelings of guilt and insecurity, living them in a state of shock,” it stated.

It further observed that the state of shock not only impacts people’s long-term psychological stability, but their short term well-being, including their ability to survive, cope and care for themselves and their loved ones.

“There are many natural disasters including mudslides, floods and earthquakes. Each of these natural disasters has short-term and long-term effects. Human activities play a role in the frequency and severity of natural disasters that have diverse causes. A natural disaster when it occurs, disrupts the balance of the environment, causes property damage and even loss of life.  One of the major responsibilities of the Government in disaster management is to address the degree of risks present within an emergency situation like this.”

“We at Mental Health and Human Rights are advocating for a more effective and accountable disaster response on this occasion. We are urging the Government and other stakeholders to coordinate the response in a more transparent and non-discriminatory manner in the distribution of aid to the affected communities.”

“We at AMHHR are therefore calling on the government of Sierra Leone to ensure not only people’s physical safety which is undoubtedly of primary importance but also get people the help they need to regain a sense of safety and security. They need help that can enable them get through what may very well be the most traumatic event of their live.”

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