Staff Reporter

KOZHIKODE: Psychiatrists are busy devising treatment methods for expatriates who have lost their jobs.

P.N. Sureshkumar, consultant psychiatrist, Kozhikode, told The Hindu that other countries had chalked out plans to prepare the returnees mentally\psychologically and financially to fight the problems thrown up by recession or the economic slowdown. “But we begin only when the problem sets in. Steps should be taken to make the people aware of how to change their lifestyles and control expenditure,” he said.

Dr. Sureshkumar said in the case of Gulf returnees, not only individuals but also the whole family and the community were affected.

They could have ‘adjustment problems,’ and in some cases, it could lead to drug abuse and mental disorder, which may drive them to suicide.

He said the government should devise strategies to tackle this problem with the help of NGOs. Hotlines and crisis centres should be opened. A rehabilitation package should be prepared to make them productive.

He said many people were learnt to have taken loans of Rs.1 lakh or more for obtaining a visa to the Gulf. Many of them return after failing to secure a well-paid job. They become debtors and are unable to repay the loan. Many expatriates had also lost money after the stock markets crashed.

He said alcoholism was rampant among those working in Bahrain and Dubai, leading them to bankruptcy and total despair, prior to the recession.

“These were gathered from his clinical experiences,” Dr. Sureshkumar said.