The city was filled with red butterflies and red rain was coming down from
According to psychologist Karineh Sahakyan children of Gyumri who lost
parents in the 1988 earthquake, see dreams like that.
"The earthquake has placed psychological
pressure especially on children, who, in many
cases, became silent and started talking less
as a result of it," says the ethno-psychologist,
Sahakyan. "During that time period we had
worked with more than 1,000 children analyzing
their dreams so that we could help them in some
way, however, the situation was very odd. Children's
dreams were mainly about nature and animals. They
didn't see in their dreams the relatives they
had lost. It looked like they were looking for
salvation in nature."
Sahakyan says that those years almost everybody
needed psychological assistance, however, there was extremely little help and
mainly it was not a professional assistance.
of the disaster zone seriously need psychological assistance up to now,"
says Sahakyan. "The level of psychological knowledge has been very low up
to now. And especially children, for whom even experienced specialists find it
difficult to make a diagnosis, need high quality assistance."
as specialists from the French "Pains Without Borders" organization
assure, it will soon become possible to make some corrections in the developed
situation thanks to the "Alarm, Disaster, Child" method, which has already
been used in different places of the world.
Since 2002 with the help of retraining lessons
for pediatricians, nurses and psychologists the
organization, which has started its activities
in Armenia since 2001, tries to teach Armenian
specialists the method of revealing depression
among children on early stages.
A teacher of the method, psychologist Frederic Neter-Vardapetyan says the
program "is a step for preventing mental disorders in the future."
Psychoanalyst Antuan Gednen a professor at the
Paris Medical University says that in many cases
specialists, who have no idea about this new method,
cannot understand whether a child is lazy or he
is extremely active or he doesn't like to sleep
or he is in the retreating state of depression.
According to the specialist, this method helps
very much especially in detecting retreating or
depressive conditions of children up to two years
old because at that age children cannot speak
and cannot express their worries and thoughts.
Gednen and other specialists were in
Armenia earlier this month to observe the Pains Without Borders program and evaluate
the mental health of children in Armenia.
"There are children who have aberrations,
however, society describes them as lazy children,"
says Gednen. "First of all it must be clear
whether a child expresses emotions and worries
or he is completely in indifferent state. Besides,
most of the children in such conditions lose weight.
Games, which are of such an everyday importance,
don't mean anything to them and they are sometimes
touchy, sharp, nervous and weepy."
As part of the ADC program, specialists and parents carefully monitor a child's
behavior and base therapy on those actions. Specialists also interact with the
children during visits to see how they are behaving in unfamiliar environments
and among unknown people.
"We have been retraining for approximately
seven months with the help of this program,"
says pediatrician, head of the Department in the
Gyumri Red Cross polyclinic Greta Avetisyan, who
has been working in the field of pediatrics for
more than 40 years. "This method gives opportunity
for Armenian specialists to detect depressive
situations, which we couldn't do before. We pay
attention to everything starting from a child's
face expression to his or her reaction and approach
to different factors and situations."
assures that since Soviet times in Armenia no attention has been paid to children's
mental state and to mental state in general and it, in its turn, left its traces
on several defects present in the field of pediatrics.
"Before we paid no attention to mental state
and it was possible that a child could have symptoms
of retreat and aberration but we didn't notice
them," says Avetisyan. "With the help
of the Alarm, Disaster, Child method we can decide
quicker what we should do and what must we do
to extricate children from these hard conditions.
We can already see the results of this method."
Avetisyan says that during
retraining lessons that had been lasting for approximately seven months they together
with the specialists of "Pains Without Borders" organizations conducted
researches among 140 children with the purpose of finding out children's mental
state. The diagnoses were made with the help of special tests.
"About 10 to 15 percent of children had
different mental defects," says Avetisyan.
"Numerous factors could cause depressions
among children such as hard social conditions,
conflict situations within families and the problem
of being misunderstood. And we started to help
children with talks, communications and sometimes
we applied to the assistance of psychologists
for achieving better and more fruitful results."
Professor Gednen assures that this program is very important and researches
are conducted for making clear situation reigning in Armenia in this field. According
to the specialist, there are possibilities that the program will be conducted
in Armenia many years and be widened.
"Scientifically we cannot say
for sure whether depression is in a threatening situation in Armenia because researches
are still in process," says Neter-Vardapetyan. "However, we can think
that the earthquake, Karabakh conflict, hard social conditions of the past years
and huge number of refugees are the factors which can lead to the development
of depressive situation in Armenia. In this case, such programs are of vital importance."