Parents and family members who have undergone the trauma of losing a child need timely intervention, say psychologists.
“The first psychological reactions to such cases are disbelief, anger and lack of sleep. Leaving such depression cases unnoticed will lead to long-term emotional disability,” said Dr Harish Shetty, a psychiatrist at LH Hiranandani Hospital, Powai.
Shetty recounted the case of parents of a Class 9 child who was killed by his best friend. The parents were initially on a one-year psychological treatment comprising psychotherapy carried out twice a week, and gradually weaned off to once in a month.
“Visiting the crime site, venting their emotions, helping them find a new meaning in life through donations to schools, was part of their treatment,” he said.
The situation is worse for families of the perpetrators of the crime.
Parents of a 17-year-old who attacked his friend after a tiff were ostracised for having neglected him because of their work.
“I helped them realise they were not at fault for what happened,” said Seema Hingoranny, a clinical psychologist,
Counselling is essential for siblings as well.
“There should be sessions to sensitise students so the siblings don’t feel embarrassed to attend school,” said Dr Zirak Marker, psychiatrist, Saifee Hospital.