Past Issues

Psychiatric Interventions in National Disasters: The Rôle of Psychiatrists for Survivor Victims in the Sewol Ferry Accident

Min-Soo Lee

The sinking of the Sewol ferry took place in the morning of April 16, 2014 en route from Incheon to Jeju. Of 476 people on board, only 174 survivors including 78 high school students were rescued. Those 78 teenagers (15-17 years old) were students of Danwon High School located in the Ansan city. All the victims and survivors are living in a small community. Sixty-five survivors were admitted to Korea University Hospital and 4 survivors were admitted to a local general hospi- tal near their residences. The management team consisting psychiatrists and psy- chologists, had provided them psychiatric intervention with organized interview with the survivors, group therapy, art therapy, music therapy, etc. The survivors were discharged from the hospital on April 30, 2014. Four survivors had extended hospitalization for additional intensive interventions due to the presence of their suicidal ideation, anxiety, and insomnia. For the time, the victims and survivors of the Sewol ferry accident, received government-provided systemic psychiatric in- terventions in Korea. The staff at Korea University Hospital have learned valuable experiences, which can help treat future disaster victims.
Key Word disaster psychiatry, crisis intervention, the Sewol ferry accident, posttrau-matic stress disorder (PTSD)
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