Expert: Family and friends can help minimise the grief

Expert: Family and friends can help minimise the grief

PETALING JAYA - Relatives and friends of families of those onboard MH370 can do many things to help them, starting with just being with them, said a consultant psychiatrist.

Malaysian Mental Health Association deputy president Datuk Dr Andrew Mohanraj said they could be around to comfort and console the family members and help them to sort out financial and legal details.

"It would not take away the pain that comes with losing a loved one but it will certainly help to reduce it to an extent.

"In fact, financial compensation - although not the primary focus for many families - may help to return their lives to normalcy since many of those onboard MH370 were the breadwinners," said Dr Andrew, adding that this was the feedback he gathered from the next of kin.

On Thursday, the Civil Aviation Depart­ment had officially declared the MH370 an accident with all 239 passengers and crew presumed dead.

Dr Andrew said the families would go through various stages of grieving.

"I saw families at the hotel when the news came in. There was a lot of denial and that is the first stage - denial and disbelief.

"This will then be followed by anger at themselves and authorities and even the passengers for having left the families to board that plane.

"After that, there would be bargaining and asking questions like 'Why not me?' said Dr Andrew.

He said if all these processes did not go smoothly, an individual could fall into the next stage, which was depression during which they would be subjected to low moods.

"The final stage will be acceptance. In this case, that is a little complicated as there is no evidence of bodies.

"Enduring the mystery would just make the whole process a little tougher for them but it is essential that they complete this process," he said.

"I think with this announcement, some of them - if not all - will be able to accept it as a form of closure and finally move on with their lives," he said.

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