What could be the psychological impacts of natural disasters on people?
Blog By Dr.Bindu S Nair | Aug 22 2018

India just witnessed another natural calamity in large scale. Kerela,  one of the southern states of India is affected now by a mammoth size flood hitting almost all of its districts killing at least 350 people and displacing over 2 lacs of them. The estimated damage is around Rs 20,000 Cr.

Normally our focus would be on the direct damages of life, properties and public services. However, one of the indirect impacts we tend to ignore is the psychological health of people post such traumatic events. There are different kinds of issues that would trouble the minds of people who are hit by such disasters.


Shock and denial often is the first reaction that prevents people from gaining the courage to quickly get into action to start moving.  Cleaning the affected houses, establishing utility services, connecting with insurance and government bodies for necessary support are all quick actions needed to achieve normalcy faster. A shocked mind might find this move very difficult.

Sometimes the state of shock can continue for many weeks depending on person to person.


People consider home as a very safe place normally. Many people spend years together in one place. The sudden impact and the unexpected disruption give people a huge sense of insecurity.  This insecurity may lead to posttraumatic stress (PTSD). People may exhibit panic attacks, uncontrolled state of emotions such as crying without control as the aftermath of this.


Disturbed state of mind

People who have disturbed psychological state can be further affected by such events. Others who have otherwise stable mind can also face longterm disturbances such as depression and anxiety.

Kids and Relatives

Such traumatic occurrences can have lasting psychological impressions on kids. If not addressed well, it might stay with them for a lifetime.

The relatives of the affected people can also have their minds impacted with such incidents. Loss of life and witnessing the devastation can be very traumatic.

Way Forward

Survivors need to focus on the positives and may do activities that would help dealing with stress. Members of the families who are stable should ensure that counseling is offered to the affected even when they would be busy picking the pieces.

Government should also take essential actions to rehabilitate the minds with the help of experts in this area. Help from the globe may be sought to train our people and to establish best practices.

Blog By Dr.Bindu S Nair

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