Mental trauma among orphans in IHK, 20% face depression

Mental trauma among orphans in IHK, 20% face depression

SRINAGAR (INP): Besides being subjected to physical abuse, orphans in the state have been victimized by mental trauma as well.

Around 20 percent orphans suffer from depression across the state. Forty percent orphans show signs of nervousness, 21 percent were silent due to shock, 16 percent reported mood swings, 14 percent were very impatient, 12 percent complained of sleeplessness and irritability while 11 percent had withdrawal symptoms.

The revelations are made by the report, ‘Orphaned in Kashmir’ which is based on the survey conducted by Save the Children.

The mental trauma has been primarily a result of conflict, physical and social environment. The finding is based on the response from orphans and not psychiatric examinations.

The other symptoms indicating trauma amongst orphans include recurring nightmare (eight percent). Lack of appetite (six percent) staring blankly into space ( three percent), and drug addiction (one percent). One percent of orphans have also committed suicide.

Orphans reporting symptoms of nervousness were mainly from Poonch (72 percent), Ganderbal (54 percent) and Baramulla (48 percent). Those remaining silent were mostly from Anantnag (38 percent) and Ganderbal (35 percent). Depression were reported from all parts district except Rajouri and was seen to be relatively high in Anantnag (33 percent) and Ganderbal (24 percent).

Overall, traumatic experiences amongst orphans were reported among those living in high and medium intensity conflict areas. Physical threat and abuses are also faced by orphans, the report adds.

It indicates that overall around five percent of orphans in the state had faced some kind of physical abuse. Physical abuse as per the qualitative expressions by the respondents include having guns pointed at them, being threatened by militant/police/army, being accused of providing outright support to the fighting sides and being harassed, illegally detained and interrogated, forced to live outside the house or hide in forests without protection, physically assaulted and hurt, being used as a bait to captured parents or as human shields.

The report states that there is a possibility of under reporting regarding physical abuse as children are not willing to openly discuss issues related to physical abuse. Physical abuse was recorded in all district but was relatively higher in Kupwara district (six percent) followed by four percent each in the four other districts of Baramulla, Anantnag, Ganderbal and Rajouri.

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