West Bengal-Rangapani Train Collision: Understanding the Psychological Impact 

West Bengal-Rangapani Train Collision: Understanding the Psychological Impact 


In the West Bengal-Rangapani and Nijbari region, a goods train collided with a stationed Kanchanjungha Express. Till now, eight passengers have been reported dead. CM Mamta Banerjee showed grievance and utter shock at the accident with around 10 casualties and dozens of passengers injured.

Are conditions improving: Statistics show a graph of improvement. IN 2012, the prevalence rate for train accidents, be it collisions, derailment, level crossings or fire, was 0.12%. This rate by 2022 has been reduced to 0.03%. Though the numbers show improvement; the situation still needs to be managed much more efficiently.

How does it impact you mentally? Train collisions, like car accidents, can often be triggering and traumatic not only to people who experienced it firsthand but also to the loved ones who indirectly went through this experience by listening to it or seeing the loss of a loved one.

Post-traumatic stress disorder: PTSD is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses associated with accidents. As the term suggests, after the traumatic event; stress-like symptoms get prominent. Sleep difficulty and feelings of distress come along. Constant flashbacks of the events can disrupt daily functioning. Such a catastrophic event can even detach from loved ones. Mood swings along with anxiety are often witnessed. Some cases have even reported suicidal thoughts.

Developing phobias: With such an experience, a fear to the extent of phobia is developed. People might feel reluctant to travel again in railways as a mode of transportation. In the Indian subcontinent, railways are one of the most significant parts for modes of transportation for most of the lower and middle class, directly associated with their occupation. Along with the people directly impacted, the general masses have a question about their security since such train accident cases are seen quite frequently.

Anxiety among travellers: Be it people who travel to their hometown or tourists exploring distant lands; railways are often the most feasible option for every section of people. Developing anxiety during long trips can hamper mental peace, not only the communication with the roots of some people but to the extent of displeasing vacations.

Rumours and distress: While such train accidents already create havoc in people, rumours fuel this chaotic fire. It is significant as morally dutiful citizens for us to not spread any misinformation. It takes a minute to stop by and check if any information belongs to a credible source or not.  Along with this, believing in what we hear should not be a habit since rumours of no. of casualties get mixed up when one can’t reach their loved ones, the emotional turmoil can increase severely.

Physical loss impacts mentally: Injuries in train accidents can be severe, even to the extent of amputations or disfigurement in some cases. With a life-long disability, acceptance does not come easy. Accepting a new loss can be traumatic and life-changing for anyone. The first step is acceptance of a new element to your identity before any intervention.

Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation services are utilized to cater to severe needs so that resettlement back to normal life can be accomplished. With a spectrum of rehabilitation professionals like occupational therapists to solve the needs of functioning, speech therapists for people who have disrupted speech due to the accident or went selectively mute and many more. Indian Railways are one of the most essential elements of connecting India to Indians. With such a high rate of train accidents, not only a sense of security is compromised among passengers but a lack of reputed image with its consistent delays in train schedules for hours or even days cannot go unnoticed.

Read More: The Integral Role of Rehabilitation Psychology

References +
  • Arora, G., & Kumar, N. (2024, June 17). West Bengal: 15 dead after freight train collides with Kanchanjungha Express in Siliguri, CM reacts. https://www.indiatvnews.com. https://www.indiatvnews.com/west-bengal/kolkata-west-bengal-many-dead-after-freight-train-collides-with-kanchenjunga-express-cm-mamata-banerjee-reacts-train-accident-2024-06-17-937297
  • What are the Psychological Effects of a Car Accident? (2024, May 14). Pendleton Law Team. https://www.virginiasinjurylawyers.com/faqs/what-are-the-psychological-effects-of-being-in-a-car-accident/
  • Fleck, A. (2023, June 7). Indian railways are improving, but safety issues remain. Statista Daily Data. https://www.statista.com/chart/30152/number-of-train-related-accidents-in-india/
  • Kovacevic J, Miskulin M, Degmecic D, Vcev A, Leovic D, Sisljagic V, Simic I, Palenkic H, Vcev I, Miskulin I. Predictors of Mental Health Outcomes in Road Traffic Accident Survivors. J Clin Med. 2020 Jan 22;9(2):309. doi: 10.3390/jcm9020309. PMID: 31979086; PMCID: PMC7074414.
  • PLLC, H. &. H. (2024, January 11). Mental health problems caused by Accident-Related injuries. Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. https://www.herrmanandherrman.com/blog/mental-health-problems-aftermath-accident-related-injury/

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