Trapped Under the Earth: How Will the Chilean Miners Fare?

August 31, 2010

There are very real concerns about the miners’ mental well-being. Chile’s Health Minister reported that five of the men were not eating properly and refused to be filmed. In the meantime, a team of nutritionists and psychologists have been assembled to monitor their physical and mental states.

Just as the good news arrived-33 Chilean miners were alive-came the real blow: The miners could be trapped underground until late December 2010. Small tubes have been created to deliver food and medical essentials, but how will these survivors endure the stresses of their captivity?

According to the BBC, there are very real concerns about the miners’ mental well-being. Chile’s Health Minister Jaime Maalich reported that five of the men were not eating properly and refused to be filmed .To help keep the men occupied and upbeat, games have been lowered to the miners; the government hopes to lower music and video devices as well. In the meantime, a team of nutritionists and psychologists have been assembled to monitor their physical and mental states. And as concerns about the health of those trapped grows, the Chilean government is attempting a quicker rescue, but estimates still place the miners underground until sometime in November.

In an editorial for Fox news, Dr. Keith Ablow noted that mental health professionals will need to be proactive, especially since some of the men might have pre-existing psychiatric disorders (eg, substance abuse disorders, depression and anxiety). “Those managing it [the situation] must do everything possible to prevent and treat major depression and panic disorder and psychotic disorders,” he wrote. “This may include the use of multiple psychiatric medications, as well as continuing to provide alcohol or even illicit drugs to the miners (to prevent withdrawal or help them cope with unbearable realities).”
 
Details available at:http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/29/chilean-miners-rescue-planhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/27/33-trapped-chilean-miners-rescue
 
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