Local expert: Chile miners should seek counseling
BOSTON -- Even if the miners are all physically OK, rescue teams in Chile will be watching closely for signs of psychological trauma in the weeks and months to come.
“This camaraderie, this mutual support in this group, this team spirit led to them surviving,” said Prof. Joseph Tecce of Boston College.
The 33 men have been living together underground for more than two months, stuck in a gold and copper mine a half mile down.
The uncertainty of whether they would live or die carried one level of stress. But, the 20-minute ride to the surface of the earth is a whole different matter.
The risk of a falling rock striking the capsule in the mine shaft is very real.
Crews are watching for panic attacks, and an expert at Boston College said that scary, claustrophobic ride up will be both harrowing, and exhilarating.
“Coming up in the capsule is stressful because as we know, when you’re immobilized, you feel stressed. We have a natural inclination to move around. But, the anticipation of being up there to see daylight will carry the day,” said Prof. Tecce.
Prof. Tecce said that despite the initial euphoria each miner must feel as he’s united with his family, there can be posttraumatic stress that each individual must watch for.
“One good way to escape is alcohol. Another one: drugs, sexual acting out, and even anger outbursts might be possible,” said Prof. Tecce.
Prof. Tecce said though every human being handles stress and trauma differently, he believes each of the 33 miners should seek psychological counseling to help them along with their recovery.
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