Kenya Hospices and Palliative Care Association (KEHPCA) Executive Director Dr Zipporah Ali is among the counselors of victims from the Westgate attack that saw over 60 innocent Kenyans lose their lives and over 200 injured.
This is part of the ongoing effort by the Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) to help those affected by the attack to overcome the shock of the events that transpired during the attack that took the country by surprise.
Being one of the counselors, Dr Ali said that most of the victims just need someone to listen to them to help them deal with trauma, loss of their loved ones and friends.
She said that it is just not the victims, but also other people who watched the whole event unfold on TV.
“They have many questions as to why such a terrible thing happened, why children were murdered, why all those innocent people were shot dead. They can’t get the pictures of the wounded, the dead and the collapsing building out of their minds if they are not supported psychologically.” Dr Ali said.
She said that the demand for counseling is high since all who saw what happened are in a way victims.
“I counseled a young man whose is in fear that it might happen again, and he kept wondering if the next time he would be among the wounded or dead. This shows the fear and uncertainty of many. We need counseling as a nation. It will not go away soon, and it is not easy to forget and move on as grieving takes time and so does healing.” She said.
Dr Ali said that this counseling will go on for as long as it may be needed as counseling is not a one off thing.
In conclusion, Dr Ali said that this exercise is very important. “We are a grieving nation, more so those who lost family members, friends and colleagues. We need to be there for one another and especially for the young ones who will never forget the terror they saw.”
KRCS, expert councilors and psychologist have set up a centre at Nairobi’s Uhuru Park to offer their support to many Kenyans and help them get back to normal life.
According to Red Cross, 63 people are missing and the family members who are still searching for their loved also need this support.
As KRCS continues to take the lead in coordinating the Psychological Support Services in conjunction with Kenya Psychological Association, other supporters including Save the Children, Amani Counseling Centre, Child Welfare Society of Kenya and now KEHPA have come in to help this noble course.