Police should be trained to understand PTSD: psychologist

Aleta Nieva-Nishimori, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 24 2020 08:59 PM

Police should be trained to understand PTSD: psychologist 1
A man passes by placards calling for justice over the killing of former soldier Winston Ragos in Quezon City on April 23, 2020. Ragos, who served in Marawi and supposedly suffered from PTSD, was shot by Police Master Sergeant Daniel Florendo Jr. at a quarantine control point in Maligaya Drive, Barangay Pasong Putik after Ragos had an altercation with police trainees at a control point.

MANILA - Policemen should be trained on how to understand post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the shooting incident that resulted in the death of a former military man who was suffering from it.

"It's not quite known or understood in general. I think our policemen are not really trained to understand this situation, this condition," clinical psychologist and social scientist Maria Lourdes 'Honey' Carandang said.

On ANC on Friday, Carandang stressed the need for authorities to be aware of the condition, especially now that there are wars--big and small--that are happening.

"Because they are the ones who implement rules and order, I think they should be trained to understand this condition which has become quite common already. Ang daming mga seige, mga wars na talagang mata-trauma ang mga tao. No one is immune to trauma," she said.

On April 21, retired Army Corporal Winston Ragos died after he was shot twice by Police Master Sergeant Daniel Florendo Jr., near a quarantine checkpoint in Barangay Pasong Putik in Quezon City.

"Even if the person was caught violating, I don't really think that he should be killed. Maybe he should be caught, talked to, jailed whatever...pero I don't believe that he should be killed. I think that’s not the way to deal with it," she said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines confirmed that Ragos served in the military for 7 years and was placed on complete disability discharge due to PTSD. He was last assigned to the 31st Infantry Battalion under the 9th Infantry Division.

Ragos' sister earlier said that he acquired PTSD after serving in Marawi, where security forces battled terrorists for 5 months in 2017.

Carandang, founder of the Mindfulness, Love and Compassion Institute for Psychosocial Services Inc., said PTSD is a technical label but has many other symptoms associated with the condition.

"It is something people mention but is not clearly understood," she said.

She said there are 3 main elements that happen to persons with PTSD. When traumatized, the body goes on red alert, she said.

"It's called hyper vigilance, palagi tayong on guard," she said.

Traumatized people experience what's called intrusion, where they see images or flashbacks or nightmares as "memories keep on coming back whether you like it or not," she said.

The third element is numbing or the body's mechanism to shut pain out.

"Wala kang pakiramdam, tulala ka, hindi mo alam anong nangyayari around you. Ang tawag doon constriction, parang yung buong system mo nag numb na lang para hindi na siya masaktan," she explained.

She however clarified that those with PTSD are not necessarily violent.

"They can be hyper-aroused where they can shout, and they don't necessarily become violent, that’s not the main symptom. In fact, some of them will just be so quiet na parang tulala, detached," she said.

Carandang said people can recover from PTSD with help and trauma therapy. But she said healing comes from processing.

"Pag na-trauma ang tao, sana ma-process siya para mag heal. Because when people are traumatized, retraumatized many times, what happens is that their personality becomes really different," she said.