Mental Health Issues
of the Indian Students rescued from the Ukraine War
Click on the link above and watch the BBC News clip. This roughly 3-minute clip highlights the trauma experienced by the Indian students who escaped the war in Ukraine. A lot of them need mental health counseling. Stat.
The student whose extreme case the BBC showed us might receive treatment, but what about those functionally close to "normal" on the outside? Will they get the treatment they need so badly? Will their parents discover the precarious edge where their sons and daughters now stand? Will the families realize that those students who have suicidal ideation may appear completely "normal" and happy even minutes before taking their own lives?
I'll be blunt. Traditional Indian families are well-known to shy away from acknowledging mental health problems to maintain the facade of a typical, happy family. They may feel that only crazy* people need medical help. They may not have adequate financial resources for long-term medical treatment. They may worry about who would marry a "defective" son or daughter or how they'll get accepted by society. It is common for Indian families to minimize mental trauma by hoping that it'll get better on its own. In some extreme cases, they have resorted to blaming the victims by calling them weak, selfish, or attention-seeking, worsening matters more.
The families and parents need to realize that their sons and daughters may have survived death in a war zone but may commit suicide if they do not receive mental health care immediately. This is not hyperbole or an effort to dramatize the situation. I have lost a few friends and colleagues due to PTSD after coming back from war; I speak from bitter experience. The students need monitoring, counseling or therapy, medication, and social support. I hope the Indian government recognizes the true scope of the problem and provides additional care - just bringing them home is only half the battle.
* I purposely used "crazy" to illustrate the parents' narrow and uneducated frame of reference; I did not use it in a pejorative manner.