PESHAWAR, December 21: About 150 people, including 132 students and few teachers, were martyred in the brutal attack unleashed by the terrorists on the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16. Around 130 people, majority of them students, also suffered injuries in that heinous attack and were eyewitness to the carnage.
Tribal News Network correspondent Mr Usman Khan has put few questions before eminent psychologist Dr Shafiq over the possible after effects of this carnage on the victim families, survived students, teachers and other people who have been directly or indirectly affected by this worst crime against humanity.
TNN: How will the Army Public School carnage affect the minds of the affected students?
Dr Shafiq: This incident can have both little or massive impacts on the minds of the students. Some students or other affected people e.g. the teachers or relatives who were not present in the school during the incident may also be affected by this incident. The major effects of this tragedy include excessive grief, fear, panic, sleeplessness, fright, lack of hunger and nightmares etc. Some affected children might want to share their condition with someone. It is the responsibility of parents, especially the father, to sit with their children and listen to their problems.
TNN: How much time the affected students will take to overcome this trauma and what is the role of parents and teachers to bring them back to normal life?
Dr Shafiq: Symptoms vary from person to person. Some people show lesser trouble and recover within 15-20 days. Opportunities should be provided to them to spend time in the hobbies of their liking to speed up their recovery. There should be no intervention when they are weeping or laughing inappropriately. Inappropriate remarks about anything, including the religion, may also be expected from the traumatised people. They shouldn’t be snubbed as they are not in normal condition. I would recommend that the fathers should take their affected children on a drive to a place of their liking. We must not give lecture to the affected students. Rather, we need to listen to the thoughts and views of these students.
TNN: What will you suggest to the parents of those children who do not recover in a month. Will you recommend them to visit a doctor?
Dr Shafiq: They should visit a doctor if they don’t recover within 15-20 days. If the affected students show signs of trauma including weeping, fright or sleeplessness long after the incident then medicines can also be prescribed to them. Psychotherapy is another method that is used to speak to the affected person to determine his fears or any other mental trouble.
TNN: After this procedure, how much time the students might take to return to normal life?
Dr Shafiq: In few cases children even recover within four days or 10-15 days. However, some children don’t fully recover even after a long time.
TNN: The parents of students have also been traumatised after this heinous act of terrorism. What will be your advice for them?
Dr Shafiq: They should not be interrupted when they cry or adore the toys of their children. The belongings of their children should not be hidden from them. They should not be stopped from showing their emotions. Stopping them from these things is wrong.
TNN: What will be the impact of pictures of this tragic incident repeatedly shown on the media on the minds of women and children at homes?
Dr Shafiq: I am personally against repeated display of the pictures of victim students on the media. Showing chat or pictures about this incident for one occasion is okay but showing them repeatedly will only rub salt into the wounds of the victims.
Translation by Mr Aamir Khan