Globally, there is much talk about the physical effects of the untimely Corona pandemic. Governments and clinicians heavily emphasize on ways to control viral exposure, manage symptoms and debate on efficient treatment methods. However, there is very little talk and focus on the negative impact this pandemic has brought on the mental health of those affected due to the pandemic. Thus, as much as concentrating on the epidemiology, transmission and clinical features of Corona virus, it is important to look into the mental wellbeing of the public too and it is a very timely call.
This pandemic is not just a medical phenomenon, but has affected all individuals and the society at large leading to a high level of disruption. It has led to sudden loss of loved ones, employment loss, restrictions to normal life patterns, left vulnerable groups with limited access to medical and food supplies and caused uncertainty in the lives of the general public which has mounted to increased pain, grief, sorrow, anxiety and fear which are factors which takes a toll on one’s mental health. Strategies to de-stigmatise Covid-19 patients should happen before late, as it could lead to further deterioration of the health of Covid-19 victims.
Society full of Unrest, Fear and Anxiety…………….
The WHO has acknowledged concern over how this pandemic has disrupted normal life and left many individuals unable to combat with the life stresses it has brought. The public is living in fear of infection and death from the virus. Consequently this has led to elevated anxiety, frustration, confusion and anger. Measures taken such as self –isolation has led to increased loneliness, depression, insomnia, harmful drug use and self-harm. In addition, lockdowns has led to a surge in domestic violence, where women and children have no escape from the abusers. A recent survey conducted by the Indian Psychiatric Society has shown a 20% increase in mental illnesses during this period, proving the negative impact on mental health it has brought about. In addition, the closing of liquor outlets has led to withdrawal symptoms and a higher suicide rate among alcohol and drug users. There is also wide speculation that there is a high chance to develop neurotic disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder and generalised anxiety disorder in higher numbers now. Mood related out bursts, panic and avoidance can take a toll on intimate relationships too. In addition, circulation of mis-information has on social media has led to undue fear and stress. Thus, it is high time that the greater picture is taken into account and measures are taken to ease unnecessary public fear and anxiety.
Children and Teens At Threat Too
The lockdown and pandemic has not spared the young crowd too. It has been very challenging for parents and guardians to keep children under closed doors away from their normal routines. Children who are now away from school and their friends have had many questions about the outbreak and the uncertainty. Children may respond to stress in a very different way and they need reassurance that they are same.
Common observations in children during this pandemic include decreased attention span, unexpected headaches, mood swings, changes in eating habits and increased depression, worry and crying. In order to offset such behaviour, parents should be calm and answer the questions which these children might have at their best knowledge. It will be good for parents to also share some positives which the outbreak has brought and make it an opportunity to spend more time with their children. Parents should also reassure to their children that they are safe at home and help them with indoor sports and games. Parents should not show their fears and anxiety to children as it would stress them further.
Elders and People with Disabilities at Risk Too
The elderly population are more vulnerable in contacting the virus due to their weaker immune system and presence of co-morbid conditions. Physical distancing due to the pandemic has had severe consequences on their mental health of elderly. Physical isolation from friends and family will escalate mental health issues in the elderly as it is an uncertain time with difficulty in even obtaining their daily stocks. Since elderly depend on their young ones, this pandemic could critically damage the family system. Thus it is important for friends and family to console the elderly through phone calls at least, and offer assistance where needed.
Some of the factors which would show that there is distress is when elderly are irritated and show an outburst of emotions. Sleeping habits could see a change and there could be more fights with other parties. A recommendation by the WHO is to pay close attention to such elderly during this pandemic and ensure that they are not left out and isolated.
The Message Which Can Be Drawn……..
It is important to place emphasis on the mental health of the public too in addition to the clinical controlling of the disease during this period of pandemic. Vulnerable populations such as children, elderly and the disabled should be given special attention and assistance offered wherever needed. Urgent public awareness should be made on how to maintain mental health in this prevailing situation. Send All Request & Donations To: 2288 Gunbarrel Rd. Suite 154/388, Chattanooga/TN 37421. Our Cash App: $LoyalDetermined