Data from a government report made public on Monday revealed that one in four nursery school children who experienced the devastating effects of the March 2011 tsunami in Japan has psychiatric problems. Experts are now warning that the effects of the psychological trauma could possibly last for the children’s whole lives if left untreated.
A research team led by Professor Shigeo Kure of Tohoku University School of Medicine found that over 25 percent of children aged between three and five who were exposed to the terrifying experience of the 2011 tsunami are suffering from psychological symptoms including vertigo, nausea and headaches, with some of the children even exhibiting extreme behavior such as violence or withdrawal. The group’s report said that these young children could develop much worse problems later on if they are not given the correct psychiatric help at this stage in their lives. Latter life problems could include developmental disorders and learning disabilities, which would then affect academic achievement and employment prospects, “as they may have trouble in communicating with other people due to the influence of experiences related to the disaster”, Kure said in an interview.
Kure said he didn’t expect that the percentage of children who need psychiatric help would be this high. “These children who were part of our study have received and will keep receiving psychiatric care in the coming years, but another issue is how to make contact with children whose need for psychiatric care has not yet been identified,” he concluded. The numbers of people who perished because of the tsunami was recorded at around 18,000. A 9.0-magnitude undersea earthquake had sent a towering tsunami into Japan’s northeast coast in March 2011, making for Japan’s worst post-World War II disaster ever. This was then compounded by the meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which sent tens of thousands of people fleeing from the radiation.
[via Yahoo News]