JOHOR BARU - Those involved in the recent accident that claimed the lives of eight teenagers in Johor will need at least six months of counselling to deal with their emotional scars.
Johor Baru Welfare Department psychological officer Norizwanti Ahmad said the counselling sessions were necessary as the survivors and the parents of those killed would not forget the tragedy easily.
"It is even harder when lives are lost in a horrific way," she said.
"The victims have to be monitored. They will usually have flashbacks and even nightmares, which will cause behavioural changes," she added.
They could experience guilt or regret, or even be angry with themselves, Norizwanti added.
"If not treated, they could slip into depression and even become suicidal.
"Depression is dangerous especially at a young age, as patients will start hallucinating and become delusional," Norizwanti said, adding that counselling would help them recover.
At 3.30am on Saturday, a car rammed into the teenage cyclists near an exit of a bypass along Jalan Lingkaran Dalam near the Mahmoodiah Muslim cemetery.
As for the driver, Norizwanti said she also needed counselling to help her deal with the trauma.
"She needs to talk it out to help her cope with her emotions," Norizwanti said, urging the driver to come forward and seek counselling.
Norizwanti, who has been a counsellor for at least 10 years, said the time frame for the survivors to heal depended on themselves. "But, it would usually take up to six months."
Norizwanti pointed out that the department would start with individual counselling before progressing to group sessions, which were crucial in speeding up the recovery process.
"The survivors will get to hear from those who went through similar trauma."