Dr Srinivasa Murthy | July 23, 2014, 06.07 am IST


Picture for representational purpose

Children who undergo great trauma like natural disasters, the loss of one’s parents or even sexual abuse, like in the case of the victim in VIBGYOR School, could suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Any event that overwhelms you, that you cannot address with your own resources will make you very preoccupied and nervous.

Any small stimulus could trigger an extreme reaction. At the same time, the victim also tries to bury thoughts of the trauma and a child must be taught how to dissociate herself from the experience. Talking about it and expressing emotions like anxiety and anger are crucial.

We must remember that even verbal threats can have a great impact on a child, who tends to take them literally. Recent research has proved that child neglect and abuse have a long-lasting effect on the mental health of an individual. Here are some of the salient findings of these studies.

Review of 124 studies(2012)(3) of ‘child neglect and abuse’ from different parts of India, found that statistically speaking, significant associations were observed between physical abuse, emotional abuse, and neglect with depressive disorders, drug use, suicide attempts, sexually transmitted infections and risky sexual behaviour. Children who have suffered abuse are three times more likely to develop these disorders than normal kids.

Efforts to remedy the situation would have to address, among several other aspects, intervention in schools and within the home and community. Policy level changes from the government in terms of education, welfare support, legislation, the Juvenile Justice Act and the provision of adequate facilities for children in distress must also be made.