Everyday on the news… we see tragic events wreaking havoc around the world.
But what we don't see are the lasting effects on the people affected.
Many develop trauma.
"27 years ago… where I am walking right now, South Korea saw its deadliest building collapse."
"It was June 29th, 1995, at around 6 pm.
It was a very hot day.
The air conditioner was broken and you could see the building was falling apart.
Because it was so hot I went down to the first basement floor.
Then I heard a big explosion.
Someone called for me and I was going her way but the building started collapsing.
I then got hit by a piece of debris that flew towards me."
"Lee Seon-min was only 20 years old at the time.
Now she’s 47… and a new apartment complex has been built where Sampoong Department Store used to stand.
But Lee is still trapped in that summer day of 1995."
"I wanted to die even when I turned 30 years old.
Because I saw how easily people died, I wanted to do that myself."
"It’s not just survivors of national tragedies that need help.
It’s also those who work on the frontlines.
Just a few days ago a wildfire broke out behind me… burning through 347 hectares of land.
It took 48 hours to put the flames out."
This firefighter has been on the special rescue team at the fire service headquarters in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province for more than seven years.
He said everyday he and his colleagues are exposed to trauma.
"One time, I saw four burnt bodies on a street that I frequently pass by.
Three of them were just as young as my younger sister.
Every time I go past that road, I think of them.
The thought that they could have been my own family or friends always lingers."
Authorities have recognized that national tragedies spur trauma and that trauma caused by the nation should be treated by the nation.
That's why in 2018… the Ministry of Health and Welfare launched the National Center for Disaster Trauma.
This center provides counseling and has even designated a week in April as "trauma week"where survivors and mental health professionals come together and talk about their trauma, and how it can be treated.
Local governments have also joined the effort.
Like Yeongju city in Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, which has the world's biggest forest therapy center.
Here, visitors can find emotional wellness through various healing programs.
Studies found that depression levels among those who tried forest therapy fell to a third of previous levels.
But because I haven’t experienced trauma myself, I asked people with trauma… what they think is
the best way to treat it.
"You need to meet other people suffering from similar trauma.
Government officials should help survivors meet fellow survivors.
Trauma can treat trauma."
"You need to talk about it.
Talking to your colleagues will help you find closure.
Exercising also helps."
"As survivors and mental health experts said…it's all about communication.
Being a good listener and not being afraid to talk about trauma.
And in case you need more support, seek professional help.
Shin Ye-eun, Arirang News, Yeongju."
#Trauma #PTSD #MentalHealth #ForestTherapy # Therapy #Survivors #NaturalDisaster #SampoongDepartmentStore