The mental scars of undergoing trauma, or even witnessing traumatic content online, can have lasting effects over one’s psyche that manifest in different ways.
As the world navigates through another gruesome geo-political conflict, it’s important to remember that wars not only have devastating effects on economies and societies, but also on the lives of people. Beyond the disputed number of mortalities and disabilities, what often remains invisible and unaccounted for is the toll on public mental health. What’s the price to be paid for the ongoing Israel-Hamas war?
A thought-provoking article published in the Lancet rightly terms wars as public health emergencies, wherein children undergo a tremendous amount of duress. Apart from the high risk of not having healthy development due to the lack of early childhood education programmes, the exposure to toxic stress can lead to mental health issues like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, behavioural problems and suicidal tendencies.
While the physical wounds can be visually detected and treated, the mental scars of undergoing trauma, or even witnessing traumatic content online, can have lasting effects over one’s psyche that manifest in different ways. We need to address the psychological damage too.
As an article by the American Psychological Association points out, after a traumatic event people tend to be dazed and hesitant in taking in new information about the distressing event. Trauma responses can fall under a wide spectrum, and they may include:
- Overwhelming anxiety, intense irritability, and mood swings.
- Physical reactions, such as rapid heartbeat or profuse sweating, on recollecting traumatic instances.
- Difficulty in concentrating or making decisions.
- Headaches, nausea, and other triggering sensations associated with the traumatic event.
- Withdrawal from social activities and interpersonal relationships.
While the journey to recovery can be long and challenging, it’s important to take the crucial first steps. Investing in self-care and building a support system are vital. Speaking to loved ones or people you trust about your feelings and allowing them to assist you with day-to-day tasks can make a positive difference. It’s advisable to seek professional help, if possible.