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The MOHW Shows Care for the Mental Health of Victims in the TRA Train Explosion

  • Data Source:Ministry of Health and Welfare
  • Created:2016-07-09
  • Last Updated:2017-01-10

An explosion occurred on a Taiwan Railway Administration (TRA) local train on the evening of July 7, 2016. First responders promptly moved the 25 injured passengers to nearby hospitals in the shortest possible time once the train pulled into Songshan Station. Currently, the people injured in the incident have all been treated in hospitals. Apart from physical injuries, their mental health should also be attended to. 

About 70% of people who experience a serious accident will experience acute stress disorder within three days of the accident. They will feel anxious, nervous, be easily scared by external sounds, have repeating nightmares, and constantly recall the details of the accident. Some may become emotionally numb and unresponsive to the external world. About 10% of these people do not recover after one month, and these cases evolve into “post-traumatic stress disorder” (PTSD). Please refer to the “Disaster Mental Recovery QA” at https://mohw-tw.gitbooks.io/qa/content/ for relevant information. 

The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) suggests that those involved in this train accident, whether they have suffered injuries or not, should try to contact a friend or family member for mutual support if they experience the above-mentioned symptoms after the accident to help relieve their own mental stress. Alternatively, they may seek help from the psychiatry department, psychological clinic, or psychological counseling center of any hospital, or call the Suicide Prevention and Counseling Service Helpline (0800-788-995) , Teacher Chang Hotline (1980), or Taiwan Lifeline International Hotline (1995) for consultation. 

To care for the victims in this incident, the minister of the MOHW has instructed social workers to provide one-to-one service for the victims, and refer them for follow-up psychological counseling, consultation, or therapy depending on their needs. 

Since the explosion incident has been repeatedly reported in various media outlets, some may feel terrified or anxious by repeatedly listening to the news. In this case, you are advised to switch off your television and radio, stay with your family and friends, take deep breaths, exercise together, have a meal, or chat. All these methods may help. 

We hereby urge the media to adhere to the Six No’s and Six Yes’s of suicide reporting suggested by the World Health Organization when making a news report, in order to protect people’s mental health. 

Six No’s: 
(1) Do not publish photographs or suicide notes. 
(2) Do not describe in detail the method used in a suicide. 
(3) Do not simplify the cause of suicide. 
(4) Do not glorify or sensationalize suicides. 
(5) Do not use religious or cultural stereotypes to interpret suicides. 
(6) Do not overly criticize suicides. 

Six Yes’s: 
(1) Thoroughly discuss the incident with medical and health experts when reporting on a suicide. 
(2) Mind the wording, e.g., use “died by suicide” rather than “successful suicide.” 
(3) Report only relevant information, and publish on an inside page rather than the front page. 
(4) Emphasize solutions other than suicide. 
(5) Provide helplines and community resources related to suicide prevention. 
(6) Report risk factors and possible warning signs of suicide.