Monday 30 August 2010

The Ultimate Psychological Test for the Chilean Miners

This is an amazing story which I've been following over the last week or so. I've become fascinated by it.

33 miners who have already been trapped for over 3 weeks now face a wait of up to four months before being rescued!

Video footage of the 33 Chilean miners trapped in the San Jose gold and copper mine.

Everytime I see or read a report on this story, I immediately think this is going to be turned into a film. It has to be!
One of the trapped miners has been writing a diary of life in the mine, his name's Victor Segovia. I imagine that any future book or film will use this diary as the source material.

At the moment it's the psychological impact on the men that's really been capturing my imagination.

The miners must have experienced that initial euphoria of realising the outside world had discovered they were still alive, only for their hopes to be dashed when they're told it could take up to 4 months to get them out.

Although demoralising to hear, as experienced miners they would have had their own realistic assessments of the timescale needed to get them out.

They've been told four months, but this may have been said for psychological reasons so not to get their hopes up. To be given false hope and unrealistic estimates would be much harder for the men to deal with.

Even though the video shows the men in good spirits, I did read that a few of them didn't appear in the video. There are concerns that some of them of experiencing symptoms of depression.

The miners are essentially serving a type of prison sentence, with extreme physical and mental chanllengers to overcome.

The fact that there's 33 of them may be of some benefit in this situation. With a larger group they should hopefully find it easier to keep morale up. But there's obviously going to be days when even the most optimistic members of the group are going to feel depressed by the whole situation.

If there are positives the men can take, it's that they do have contact with their families and the outside world. Through the pipe that leads to the surface, they've already received cards, books, video games to fight the boredom.

In terms of their physical and mental health they're receiving medicine that includes anti depressants and some of the men are even getting remote therapy sessions.

Another interesting fact I discovered, is that the miners families have been banned from discussing particular topics during telephone and video conversations; these include where the blame lies for the collapse of the mine, and the actions being taken against the mining company.

What I wasn't aware of, is that the mining company and owners of the collapsed mine have had a history of accidents.

This sounds quite a sensible approach, as such discussion could only go towards creating more distress for the miners and their families.

This story is clearly going to run for the next few months and until the miners are rescued. I can't remember coming across a similar type of story before, which partly explains why I'm so interested by it.

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