POSSIBLE EMOTIONAL EFFECTS OF THE EXECUTION OF ANDREW CHAN and MYURAN SUKUMARAN
Following the execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukuman by the Indonesian Government psychologists warn that many people may be significantly emotionally effected.
Principal psychologists of Axiom Psychological Services Ian Kilpatrick and George Dieter say that very few people will be left untouched by the executions. There is likely to be a wide range of emotions from sadness, and grief to irritation and open anger.
In many ways the executions of these two men is special to us, because even though only a relatively few people have had actual contact with them all Australians have come to know then and through the media developed a close if vicarious relationship with them. “We have watched and witnessed their stories unfold in front of us – from perceived bad drug trafficking young men to transformed, devout, caring young men with much to offer society. We have been touched by their rehabilitation and the stories of their families, friends and even legal advisers. We have witnessed the profound distress of their families and loved ones” said Mr Kilpatrick and Mr Dieter. “On the other hand we have at the same time observed the hard lined, uncaring and unforgiving actions of the Indonesian Government. To most Australians the Indonesian legal system appears to be at best confusing, irrational and perhaps even corrupt.”
To many Australians executions do not make much sense, but the Chan & Sukumaran case is even more difficult to understand.
Mr Kilpatrick and Mr Dieter who are experienced in dealing with the psychological effects of trauma said it is better to allow people to appropriately express their emotions. Physical exercise such as a good walk is recommended. To assist with coping with grief donating to a suitable charity either money or time can be helpful.
For some people Chan/ Sukumaran grief may refresh previous traumatic experiences. Professional help is available in many ways for people really struggling. GP’s are skilled in this area, many organisations have professional counselling supports and most schools have skilled school counsellors. Professional registered psychologists are also able to help people deal with the reality of the situation.