Psychological needs of natural disaster survivors has long been neglected partly because of the lack of recognition of the reality of developing a mental illnesses. Additionally reliefs services have usually had their hands full with simply providing the basic human needs and providing physical aid for these civilians affected. Fortunately with growing awareness around mental health, more resources and services every year keep springing up out of the need for psychological support for these people.
PTSD- post traumatic stress disorder is a commonly developed mental illness connected to those who have experienced a natural disaster. Studies conduction by the Child Fund have shown children are the most likely out of survivors to develop PTSD. When exposed to events of which dramatically change the way of living for these children; their routine, accessibility to water or food, fear of not surviving and losing of a friend or family member, children can develop a strong 'fear' of the event occurring again. This fear can control and disrupt their life and clearly affect their happiness and stress levels.
Similarly adults can also suffer from PTSD from the same or alternative reasons. Destruction of not only their possessions, their homes, community but of their life style has enough power to drive one off the edge.
Psychologists explore the trends of the psychological response to natural disasters in a survivors mind and have broken it into 3 main stages:
Stage 1- Impact phase
Shock and Panic can overrun some people caught in a disaster whereas others find a state of calmness in order to survive and protect the lives of other; basic human survival instincts kick in.
Stage 2- Rescue phase
This is the stage where most people have the time to identify what has happened and to process the impact on their life. Most survivors express high levels of anxiety, anger, sadness and feelings of helplessness.
Stage 3- Recovery phase
The recovery stage is different for every individual but basically it is the way a person deals with rebuilding their life. The level of optimism and drive displayed in this phase is depending upon the individuals loss within the disaster that occurred.
We can't prevent them, control them, or stop them. The only thing we can do is clean up after the disasters. It's very sad.