The pandemics have historically taken a huge toll on governments, finances, organizations, health care systems and people. The covid-19 pandemic has been no different and it has also taken a huge, even though invisible, toll on mental health. Public health experts say there is a manifold increase in mental health cases amid the virulent disease with many attributing the rising stress and anxiety levels to isolation, loss of loved ones and economic uncertainty.
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.
Without a doubt, the lives have been disrupted, livelihoods of the people hurt, or even destroyed. As a consequence, evidently, there is anxiety, fear, stress, and trauma.
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.”
Several ways can be worked out but for the present the facilities for treatment, for those under deep stress, need to be upgraded without delay. The facilities should be made available at district and sub-district levels. There is a need to increase the number of experts and engage them immediately with those having dire need for the same. The situation also demands pro-activeness and applying of mind on how to deal with the crisis.
Self-harm is also one of the extreme manifestations of mental illness and there is a need to destigmatize mental health issues given the fact that approaching a mental health doctor or consultant is considered to be a major stigma.