Pakistan plans counselling for traumatised children

Volunteers hold an injured boy at a hospital in northwest Pakistan's Peshawar, Dec. 16, 2014.


Volunteers hold an injured boy at a hospital in northwest Pakistan's Peshawar, Dec. 16, 2014.
Volunteers hold an injured boy at a hospital in northwest Pakistan’s Peshawar, Dec. 16, 2014.

Pakistan’s National Health Services (NHS) has prepared counselling session programme on post-traumatic stress management for the children who survived the gruesome Peshawar school attack, media reported Sunday.

According to an official statement, sessions will be held with students, their families and teachers that would help them recover from the shock, Dawn online reported.

A committee of members from the mental health and non-communicable disease coordination cell of the health ministry, the Army Medical Crops, psychiatrists from Islamabad and Peshawar, WHO collaborating centre and UNICEF, held an emergency meeting to prepare a counselling session programme.

WHO collaborating centres are research institutes, parts of universities or academies, which are designated by the director-general to carry out activities in support of the organization’s programmes.

Information, education and communication (IEC) materials, messages, modules on post-traumatic stress disorder would be made available for public.

Another objective of the committee is to develop a strategy to mitigate the after-effects of the incident through the media.

The ministry would finalise the plan by Monday in consultation with the WHO collaborating centre and Rizwan Taj of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), while Unicef would be providing relevant support.

Assad Hafeez, the executive director of the Health Services Academy, said that all students of the country have been affected by the unfortunate shoioting.

“The army team which has been carrying out rehabilitation activities in Army Public School, Peshawar, contacted the NHS ministry and sought counselling facility for the traumatised children and families,” he said.

“We have experts who conducted post-trauma counselling of the survivors of the 2005 earthquake in Azad Kashmir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and other areas of the country,” he added.

“At the moment, students are scared of going to school,” Hafeez said.

Psychiatrists will counsel the children in groups and provide supporting material to their parents that will help them and their children recover from the trauma.

The terror attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar by members of the Pakistan Taliban killed 148 people, of them 132 children.


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