Mental Issues Remain Challenging 

Covid-19 has had negative impact on the mental health of people. The rapidly increasing second wave has exacerbated the concerns and challenges across the globe. The covid-19 pandemic has brought about uneasy feelings that causes further mental health issues and gets aggravated given the current state of mental health system in J&K. The system is not prepared to deal with what may become a global mental health pandemic and answer to questions on ways to address it remains questionable.

At a seminar in Kashmir University on April 7, some experts said that the negative impact of the covid-19 on mental health of people has been such that it has had an “exponential increase of narcotics abuse globally.”

The 19 pandemic has already caused suffering on a magnitude that is unprecedented in living memory as thousands of people have lost their livelihoods and are struggling financially. Thousands of people have lost loved ones.  The health and financial costs of the pandemic have resulted in widespread feelings of helplessness and overwhelming anxiety and despair in response to circumstances over which people have little or no control.

The second wave of the pandemic only threatens to be driven by intense feelings of anxiety and despair when the world is no longer predictable and safe amid higher unemployment and financial issues coupled with traumatic memories of the death of a partner, parent, or loved ones for lot of people.

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 lockdown previously, the number of cases remained largely the same.

Going forward is going to be challenging. There is need for developing and implementing programs aimed at enhancing resilience and treating individuals struggling with the mental health issues as a consequence of COVID-19 and that too on urgent priority. Large scale proactive measures are needed to be taken while course of the pandemic remains uncertain. Otherwise, the pandemic’s long-term impact on mental health could easily be as devastating and costly as the financial impact of the pathogen.

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