The late summer and early fall seasons in the Philippines were especially cruel in terms of weather this year, inundating the region with a series of tropical storms and floods that killed scores of people and left many others in a state of devastation. That state, unfortunately, still persists in the areas affected by the disasters, as over a million people live in homes and shelters still racked with floodwaters and debris. While there are many concerns over the potential for bacterial infections and other health concerns to take a toll on those living with the stagnant waters, the World Health Organization has recently noted that the potential for mental health issues to become prominent in the area is great.
Citing the stress and frustration of living in an environment soaked with floodwaters, with little hope of restoring hopes to a dry state before the end of the year, the organization suggested that mental fatigue, depression, and other mental health concerns were likely to take hold of many of those struggling on a daily basis to reclaim their property–and their lives–from the disasters. Along with local residents and business owners, the organization expressed concern for the emergency aid workers and other helpers assisting in cleanup and provision distribution efforts, many of whom have been working seven day weeks with little to no rest since September.
Surrounded not only by physical hardship but faced by the deaths of friends and loved ones, the victims of the Philippines floods should receive greater medical and mental health care, and measures should be taken to provide adequate services as soon as possible, suggests the WHO. In the meantime, the victims are showing daily that human will and perseverance are capable of working, living, and loving through even the most adverse of circumstances.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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