Troubles Trauma Haunts Ulster; People Don't Feel Free to Talk about Their Experiences, Research Shows

Article excerpt

Byline: GEMMA MURRAY

WAR psychology still pertains in Northern Ireland where people traumatised by the Troubles still don't feel free to talk about their experiences.

This was the key finding of new research conducted by leading mental health charity Threshold.

The study, specialising in psychotherapy to help those affected by violence, found that people wanted to discuss the effects of years of civil disorder but were fearful of the consequences.

Clinical psychologist Dr Raman Kapur, director of Threshold, speaking yesterday to an invited audience of Assembly members and health and housing professionals in Belfast, said the attitude of the 1970s that 'loose talk costs lives' still predominates in the streets of the Province.

'In the 1970s we saw posters which said 'Loose talk costs lives',' he said.

'What we are seeing now is that people still do not feel safe.

'We may have a political peace process but on the ground there is still a war psychology. People live in fear of their lives. The truth is 'loose talk heals minds'.'

Dr Kapur said that having a safe place to talk was fundamental to beginning the healing process.

'We must provide safe havens with no riot zones for people to get help and deal with the human effects of the conflict,' he said. …