YOUNG Women Christian Association (YWCA) executive director Mirriam Mwiinga has advised individuals still experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of COVID-19 or other traumatic experiences to seek counselling services.

In an interview, Wednesday, Mwiinga said COVID-19 was a traumatic experience for everyone during its peak.

“Covid was a very traumatic experience for all of us because you didn’t know whether you would catch it, you didn’t know what kind of suffering you would go through and whether you will die, so on and so forth. So when you finally got it, you know, with the mind knowing that you are either going to die or you are going to be suffocating and so on and so forth, with so many different difficult symptoms, it meant that the person was actually highly traumatised,” she said.

“So when you talk about the post-traumatic stress disorder, you are talking about somebody who still experiences trauma after the stressful situation of Covid. So indeed a lot of people were faced with this traumatic disorder from Covid and one of the reasons for this is that you know we had an increase in the gender-based violence cases, we had a number of people being affected economically in terms of their livelihoods, they lost jobs, they were on half pay, they were not working full time. They were not certain about their jobs, they were not certain about their livelihoods the following day.”

Mwiinga said at some point, gender-based violence victims did not know where to report because they could not move freely due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“And those that went through gender-based violence at some point didn’t know where to report because they could not move freely and so on and so forth. So what we are saying is that indeed a lot of people were faced with this and what we can encourage, whoever is still going through post-traumatic stress disorder, is that they can still seek counselling services because the post-traumatic stress disorders are best dealt with by talking to specialised counsellors who will help you come out of that traumatic experience that you went through,” she said.

“So you will not get healed by keeping quiet, it’s important to seek the services of a counsellor or a psychologist to help you return to your normal self because of you don’t receive the necessary assistance it means that, that traumatic experience will continue recurring every so often. Whoever is feeling like they are still traumatised in one way or another or stressed due to Covid or other traumatic experiences, seek services of a counsellor and be assisted to regain your normal self.”

Meanwhile, Mwiinga said YWCA provides free psychosocial counselling services.

“YWCA provides psychosocial counselling free of charge to the members of the public that require the services. So people would walk in and seek our services and we would provide the services free of charge. Others will be referred by health facilities, by the police, by family members. So we did provide free counselling and we still have those services available for members of the public. These services are free of charge,” said Mwiinga.