By: Sajidah Yousuf
Srinagar, April 26: In Kashmir valley, the anxiety and stress among the children during the COVID-19 has gone up by at least nine percent, psychologists said on Monday.
Akriti Hussain, a psychologist and therapist, said the impact of COVID-19 on the children in Kashmir is huge.
“If we look up the statistics, anxiety and depression rate has gone up by eight to nine percent among the children and those with already reeling under mental issues, things are worsening for them because they are not able to participate in any sort of physical activities,” Hussain said.
She said that many children as well parents lack awareness about seeking help.
“Mental health is a big issue and especially among the children because the behavioral changes can reflect the impact,” Hussain said.
She said that the children are getting anxious at home because there is no routine and structure to be followed.
Hussain said that be it COVID-19 or abrogation of Article 370, things are still not so good for the children in terms of help services especially for those suffering from high anxiety levels, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) or autism.
“After two consecutive lockdowns in 2019 after the abrogation of Article-370 and outbreak of COVID-19 in March-2020, mental issues are escalating among the children,” she said.
Another physiologist, Sadaqat Rehman said that the doctors in Kashmir have started counselling the children online to help them in fighting the stress and anxiety.
“Because of the fear and safety, the children have been restricted to homes only since the outbreak of the pandemic, which has eventually become the prison for them,” Rehman said.
Sadaqat said that the issue of being disturbed mentally is not among children only; even adults can face the trauma if kept at one place only.
“The behavior of the children has been changed post pandemic. Children tend to get violent and their tolerance level has been decreased. The panic in adults about the uncertainty of the future reflects in the child’s behavior,” Rehman said.
She said the stress of pandemic cannot be managed by medication.
“The only way to handle it is by giving assurance to the children that they are safe,” Sadaqat said.
“We have started the classes ‘Anxiety Managements Groups’ by following all Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), wherein the children can share their experiences and get connected with each other. The group consists of 7-8 children,” Rehman said.
Shahid Tak, a pediatrician said, “A number of children turn-up for the mental check-up because almost every second child is directly or indirectly affected because of being home for a long time.
“Children have reciprocal impact on mental health for being at home for a long time,” Tak said—(KNO)