October 10 is observed as World Mental Health Day to raise awareness about the scale of suicide around the world and the role that every individual can play to help in preventing it. This day is organised by the World Federation for Mental Health. It is also supported by WHO, the International Association for Suicide Prevention, and the United for Global Mental Health.
As per experts, covid-19 pandemic-induced anxiety disorders such as panic attacks, phobias and Obsessive Compulsive Disorders are on rise among people amid the fear of a third wave.
As per experts, anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders characterised by feelings of anxiety and fear, including generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to WHO.
As per a study published in National Library of Medicine, ‘relatively high rates of symptoms of anxiety (6.33% to 50.9%), depression (14.6% to 48.3%), post-traumatic stress disorder (7% to 53.8%), psychological distress (34.43% to 38%), and stress (8.1% to 81.9%) are reported in the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic in China, Spain, Italy, Iran, the US, Turkey, Nepal, and Denmark.”
A new Lancet study also confirmed major depressive and anxiety disorders have increased substantially due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In India, depressive and anxiety disorders both saw an increase of 35%, the study noted.
Children are a distressed lot too because of not being able to step out and play, go to school and staying glued to screen. There has also been an increase in cases of domestic violence against them.
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.
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.