Ever since covid-19 reared its ugly head, focus throughout the world has been on physical effects of SARS‐CoV‐2 infection and steps for preventing its spread and managing symptoms if they appear.
Efforts centered mainly on understanding the epidemiology, clinical features, transmission patterns, and management of the COVID‐19 outbreak.
As has been observed by experts, a pandemic is not just a medical phenomenon. It affects individuals and society and causes disruption, anxiety, stress, stigma, and xenophobia. The transmission of the covid-19 resulted in the enforcement of regional lockdowns to stem the further spread of the disease. Consequences include isolation, social distancing, closure of educational institutes and workplaces so that a person stays in homes to help break the chain of transmission. However, the restrictive measures undoubtedly affected the social and mental health of individuals from across the board. This fact has been established in a survey by the Association of Physicians of India, bringing to fore the alarming fact about the pandemic affecting people psychologically. As per the survey, covering the period from October 2020 to February 2021, 80.5 per cent of the population suffered from anxiety while 73.3 per cent suffered from depression. More women than men were among those affected, the survey underlines. The findings have underlined the need to initiate steps to address mental health issues and curb its adverse implications.
The second wave has been much more relentless and took many by surprise because it came just as people felt things were returning to normal. A number of people also feel culpable for not being able to support those around them adequately while a large population is yet to recover from fiscal and personal losses of last year. Together, these factors are gravely impacting people’s confidence, and resilience to cope with situations. The present round of the pandemic also impacted the vulnerable sections more since they have much less access to mental health professionals.
As put by an expert, it is essential to overcome the fear psychosis with a positive mind that “the pandemic phase is temporary and this shall pass too.”
The situation also demands pro-activeness and applying of mind on how to deal with the crisis. Equally, medical professionals must find innovative ways of offering care and therapy at this juncture. At the same time, organizations, and families must come together to offer solidarity and support those who require immediate attention. Parents need to engage their wards in various activities. It is important to realize that social interaction and personal ties offer the best safety valve to ward off such problems.