PSYCHOLOGICAL NEEDS AND SUPPORTS AFTER AN EARTHQUAKE:
First, we would like to express our sympathy and condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the earthquake in Turkey and wish a speedy recovery to those injured. It is important to emphasize that individuals should be allowed to recover from the shock and trauma of the earthquake, return to normal, heal, and rebuild their lives using their resources and skills. This is crucial for individuals to build their psychological resilience. The brain needs to be given the opportunity to repair, regulate and possibly reboot its own cognitive and emotional structures.
Relatives, friends, acquaintances, and the local community who wish to help earthquake survivors often direct them towards psychological support, encourage them to seek help from mental health professionals, or are overly insistent on this issue, with good intentions but unfortunately without enough knowledge. It is not a healthy approach to direct children or adults towards psychological support when there are no concrete and sustained psychopathological symptoms present for at least 2-3 weeks. For example, suppose a person experienced the earthquake and is not speaking, not eating or sleeping, and not engaging with anyone. In that case, this person should be taken immediately to the nearest healthcare facility. However, directing someone who communicates with others, meets their own self-care needs, and has clear consciousness towards psychological support. At the same time, the event is still fresh is not a healthy direction. This direction may cause more harm than benefit to the individual. It is not a healthy parental attitude to direct children towards support, face-to-face or online with a mental health professional, without a concrete need or without sustaining any psychopathological symptoms.
After natural disasters, physical needs are a priority. It is essential to focus on providing an individual’s physical needs and creating a safe space. It helps them overcome the shock they experience after the earthquake. Once an individual’s physical needs are provided and a safe place is created, their emotional circumstances can start normalizing. Suppose an individual is still experiencing persistent or worsening psychopathological symptoms despite their physical needs being met and a safe space being created. In that case, they should be directed toward professional psychological support.
We recommend that you do not trust anyone who shares posts on social media, saying that psychological support is very important during this process and urgently directs people to seek psychological support even when it is not needed, regardless of who they are. We want to express that these calls, which we want to believe are made with good intentions, are not appropriate or correct.
Respectfully announced to the public.