Covid-19 is turning out to be the most devastating public health crisis India has ever seen, and systemic failures are apparent all around. Jammu and Kashmir is no exception. The cases continue to grow and there seems to be no end to it. On Thursday India recorded the world’s highest single-day spike in the last 24 hours, as per the data provided by the Union Health Ministry. In this month alone, around 23000 cases were added to the burgeoning tally while 94 people succumbed in Jammu and Kashmir. The second covid-19 has whiplashed on the economy and society is going to have a telling effect at a time when the financial system is yet to recover. A number of studies have recently shown that there is relatively lesser impact on the very rich and the very poor by the economic shock induced by the covid-19 pandemic.
These studies argue that the very rich can absorb such shocks while the very poor are numbed by chronic poverty—their condition could not be worse than what it already is. It is the middle class that is hit worst by the pandemic. It is likely that the blows from the present and coming waves would be far more fatal than that of the first one. The pandemic threatens to crumble the middle class into the heap of the poor. Jobs were lost previously and the contemporary situation threatens to be more pronounced. Unemployment creates economic distress and a number of social problems. Beyond doubt, anxiety and stress levels are much higher for an unemployed person and the sense of alienation one goes through in such a scenario can be devastating. Researches have shown that there has been a substantial increase in substance abuse, domestic violence have increased while psychiatric disorders become widespread and more pronounced. It can rip apart families, increase adverse effects on one’s self-esteem and confidence.
The pandemic only threatens to be driven by intense feelings of anxiety and despair when the world is no longer predictable and safe amid traumatic memories of the death of a partner, parent, or loved ones for a lot of people.
Also, the mental health issues in the context of the pandemic are more complex and challenging.
Going forward is going to be challenging. There is a need for developing and implementing programs aimed at enhancing resilience and treating individuals struggling with mental health issues as a consequence of COVID-19 and that too on urgent basis.