The special consultation hour set up in February for relatives of earthquake victims in Turkey and Syria who live in Berlin has met with great interest. Because of the high demand, the Turkish-language offer at the Center for Transcultural Psychiatry will be extended until at least mid-May, one of the treating psychiatrists, Serkan Basman, told the German Press Agency. It was originally planned to run until the end of March.
After the devastating earthquake in Turkey and Syria at the beginning of February, a treatment team from the Center for Transcultural Psychiatry at the Humboldt Clinic set up the special consultation at short notice at the end of February. Relatives can get psychiatric and psychological support there. The center focuses on a culture-sensitive approach and native language treatment, in this case in Turkish and Arabic.
High demand for office hours
"I didn't think there were that many people who needed a consultation like this," Basman said. He has looked after around 50 Turkish-speaking patients so far. Due to the unexpectedly high demand, he extended the office hours from initially two hours a week to the entire Friday afternoon. Group therapy will also be offered in the coming weeks.
According to a Vivantes spokeswoman, the Arabic-speaking team is only offering consultation hours until the end of April due to falling demand. Around 20 patients took advantage of the offer. According to the spokeswoman, those affected can also contact the intercultural institute outpatient clinic for a treatment appointment independently of the special consultation hours.
"Some don't eat or drink for a long time"
Some of Basman's patients witnessed the earthquake first-hand, others later traveled to the earthquake area to help or lost loved ones in the tragedy, the psychiatrist reports. The consultation hours give them the opportunity to talk about their helplessness, sadness, feelings of guilt and also anger. Some suffered from depression or listlessness. "Some don't eat or drink for a long time, some can't get out of bed, some don't leave the apartment."
Basman can well understand the feelings of his patients: he himself comes from the Turkish city of Adana, which was also hit by the earthquake. He brought his parents, who were in the earthquake region at the time of the accident, to Berlin. "They couldn't sleep for a week." In order to do something about his own helplessness, he came up with the idea of the consultation hour. It helps the patients that he simply listens to them, said the psychiatrist. Some patients with particularly heavy burdens were also admitted to the day clinic, which is an additional support.