Srinagar, June 23 (KMS): In occupied Kashmir, the authorities have dumped the rehabilitation plan for pellet victims of the 2016 mass uprising who have suffered psychological trauma following loss of eyesight.

In 2016, nearly 150 persons lost eyesight either completely or partially. As per psychiatrists, they are facing serious mental problems due to lack of psychological intervention and a rehabilitation plan for them.

A health official, wishing anonymity, told media persons that the counselling programme, which was run by the health department in 2016, has been shelved by the authorities. This has led to serious mental illnesses like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) among the pellet victims, he said.

As per doctors, the pellet survivors of 2016 are vulnerable to PTSD. “Only a few pellet victims are on follow-up treatment at SMHS Hospital. We usually catch hold of them at the ophthalmology department, as they don’t turn up themselves,” said Dr Muhammad Maqbool, Head of Department of Psychiatry at Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar.

During the 2016 uprising, the health department had formed a Crisis Intervention Mental Health Team following the huge number of pellet injuries.

“It was a medical emergency. The team was formed to prevent serious mental illnesses. But now the phase of emergency has gone and health authorities have other priorities and challenges to deal with. The authorities should devise a long-term programme for pellet victims who are showing symptoms of mental illness, so that the problem is prevented from getting worse,” a psychiatrist suggested.

He said the health department and the GMC, Srinagar, are already facing shortage of doctors and counsellors at the departments of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology. “In such circumstances, the extra community programme for pellet victims was not possible,” the doctor said.

As per official figures, nearly 500 firing survivors are enrolled for counselling at the Psychological Clinics of the GMC. Most of them are pellet victims who have been showing serious symptoms of mental disorder since the day they got injured.


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