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Do not use these sentences to earthquake victims!

Stating that earthquakes affect children, pregnant women, individuals who have lost loved ones and people with mental illnesses, Dr. Mert Akcanbaş points out that some discourses should be avoided while talking to people who experienced the earthquake. Mentioning the importance of approaching the people who experienced the earthquake, AİLEMER Family Application and Research Center Director Mert Akcanbaş said that critical and accusatory statements should be avoided, speeches such as ‘Time heals everything’, ‘Pray you are alive’, ‘Think about those who are worse off than you’ should be avoided.

AİLEMER Family Practice and Research Center Manager Mert Akcanbaş made remarkable evaluations about the traumas that occur after natural disasters. Akcanbaş touched upon the expressions that should not be used and the approaches that should be shown, especially when talking to individuals who experienced the earthquake.

Trauma occurs unexpectedly

Stating that the situation that occurs after a direct encounter with death, serious injury and sexual assault, witnessing it, learning that it happened to a loved one or being exposed to the details of such events as a profession, is defined as psychological trauma. FAILEMER Manager Mert Akcanbaş “Trauma can happen to anyone. However, some people do not develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) despite experiencing trauma. The likelihood of PTSD is not known to be linked to personality structure. The frequency and severity of PTSD symptoms that the person develops can be measured with certain tests. The main feature of trauma is that it occurs suddenly and unexpectedly. Even if we know that there is an earthquake risk, disaster will occur suddenly because we cannot know when it will happen.” said.

PTSD incidence rates vary according to the type of disaster

After various natural disasters that have occurred in different countries, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Akcanbaş stated that the incidence rates in different studies reveal different data, “For example, while the incidence of PTSD for adults is 4.1-67.7 percent, this rate is 2.07-37% for flood disasters and 9-36.7 percent for large fires. Acute stress reactions are first seen after traumatic events and they last 3 to 30 days after the event. However, if it is longer than 30 days, the need for treatment occurs when the stress becomes chronic and turns into PTSD.” he said.

Children and people who already have mental problems, individuals are at risk.

Akcanbaş said, “The most risky groups in earthquakes are pregnant women, women, children, children living in social aid institutions, people with physical and mental illnesses, individuals who have lost loved ones, those with addiction problems and personnel who work in aid activities in the region. It is known that depression and suicide cases have increased after earthquakes in various parts of the world. said.

Treatment can be applied in many ways

Emphasizing that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs if the post-earthquake symptoms persist for more than 30 days, Akcanbaş said, “In the treatment of this disorder, some symptoms can be eliminated with medications, as well as with the techniques preferred by specialists such as Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, Exposure, Counting Methods. ” he said.

No promises that can’t be kept…

Akcanbaş listed the sentences that should not be said to people who experienced the earthquake as follows:

  • Do not speak critically or accusingly
  • Avoid using technical terms in conversations
  • Discourses about how victims feel should not be used
  • Earthquake is destined, explanations such as divine providence should be avoided.
  • Talks such as ‘Time heals everything’, ‘God does not give a burden to man’, ‘Pray you are alive’, ‘Think about those in a worse situation than you’ should be avoided.
  • Victims should not be made promises that cannot be kept.
  • Victims should not be forced to speak

Their privacy should be protected

AİLEMER Family Application and Research Center Manager Mert Akcanbaş also shared his recommendations regarding the approaches to be shown to earthquake victims.

  • Victims should be treated with respect
  • Always be available
  • Aid must be done quickly and with high quality.
  • The traditions and cultural values ​​of the victims should be respected
  • The privacy of victims should be protected
  • Focus on victims’ needs
  • Even if victims ask the same question over and over, it should be answered
  • Victims should be given responses appropriate to their development and education levels.
  • Efforts should be made so that victims can reach their families, loved ones and social circles that can support them.


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