Recently, UK’s leading psychiatrist and the president of the Royal College, Dr Adrian James, warned that the novel coronavirus crisis poses the greatest threat to mental health since the World War II.
He might have said it in the context of the United Kingdom but the warning or the basement is not out of place as far this part of the globe including Jammu and Kashmir is concerned.
The covid-19 pandemic, unfortunately, added a toll on mental health. In fact, the mental health issues in the context of the pandemic are more complex and challenging, experts say. Soon after the covid-19 pandemic started, there were reports about people suffering from increased stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, denial, anger, and fear due to varied reasons including due to isolation, loss of loved ones, economic uncertainty and the fear of contracting the disease.
As per an expert, nearly half of patients do not have any history of mental illness and despite the lifting of lockdowns; the number of cases remained largely the same.
without any doubt, the lives got disrupted, livelihoods of the people hit, or even destroyed due to the covid-19. The pandemic has surely aggravated the situation, leaving those having such issues to struggle with the symptoms and disabilities that result from what is basically and undeniable a disease which to a large extent is curable. What makes the challenge more difficult is stereotypes and prejudice such people face purely as a result of misconceptions about mental illness. As a result, people with mental illness are robbed of the opportunities that define a quality life—good jobs, satisfactory health care, and association with a diverse group of people.
The people having mental illness not only face the public stigma which is the reaction that the general population has towards them but also self-stigma which is defined as the prejudice which they turn against themselves.
Unless services are available, addressing the mental issues would remain distant.
Let alone Jammu and Kashmir, all states and UTs across India spends little on mental health care. Against World Health Organization norms, the mental health personnel remains paltry, to say the least.
There are structural shortcomings that need finances and infrastructure to overcome. There are also immediate needs that are to be addressed on various fronts within a reasonable dispatch.
There is also a requirement of developing need-based interventions with proper risk communication strategies.