‘Indigestion in mind’ : Passengers of turbulence-hit SIA flight inflicted psychological scars, experts say – Times of India


NEW DELHI: The psychological impact of the Singapore Airlines flight that suffered severe turbulence that left one dead has left many survivors grappling with the aftermath, with some expressing doubts about flying again in the near future. A passenger reported that he woke up on the floor of the plane to sounds of crying and the sight of blood, which caused him nausea and distress.

SA flight SQ321 from London to Singapore encountered severe turbulence, causing a rapid climb and descent of 400 feet in one minute, resulting in the death of one passenger and injuries to at least 30 others.

Mental health experts have highlighted the possibility of passengers developing various psychological conditions after such a traumatic experience.

These may include acute stress disorder (ASD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety disorders. Dr. Amanda Oh, founder of Budding Space, compared the overwhelming nature of the event to “mental indigestion,” emphasizing the difficulty in processing such a unique and distressing situation. ASD symptoms can manifest within a month of the incident, while PTSD can persist beyond that period, affecting an individual’s social functioning and physical well-being.

“For an experience as unique as what the passengers had to go through, it would be an extremely overwhelming experience for anyone,” Dr. Oh said.

“For example, if (traumatized people) want to cry or talk about it, let them do so. Let them choose their way of crying and process the experience in a way they are comfortable with rather than rushing them into that journey,” she added. .

To aid in the recovery process, mental health professionals recommend maintaining a healthy lifestyle and engaging in activities that promote bilateral stimulation, such as walking and swimming. Family members can provide support by allowing affected people to express their emotions and grief in their own way, fostering a sense of autonomy and control. Dr. Thomas Lee, medical director of the Resilienz clinic, suggests eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy as a potential treatment to reduce the impact of traumatic memory.

While the road to recovery may be challenging, mental health experts remain hopeful that, with the right support and intervention, those affected by the turbulence in SQ321 can eventually overcome the psychological scars left by this harrowing experience.

(With contributions from agencies)



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