This post is written by Simran Bhaskar, a 3rd year BA LLB specialization in Energy Law Student from UPES, Dehradun.
There are difficult times that we are hearing in this COVID-19 pandemic but the most emotion we are facing right now is FEAR. The fear is making us anxious, stressed, and even depressed but we are too shy to seek help from our family, friends, and professionals. As per the report of the Indian Council of Medical Research, it has been seen one out of every individual is suffering from mental illness in India.
The new reality of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends, colleagues will take time to get used to it. Adapting to lifestyle changes has always been tough but fear of getting in contact with the virus has shaken us all. The Government is trying their best to cure the infected people and also looking after the other citizens who are facing their own self-made demons that are the mental illness demon.
The Department of Psychiatry at the Pushpagiri Institute of Medical Sciences, Kerala together with the National Alliance for Mental Health organized a lecture on ‘COVID-19 and its impact on Mental Health. As per the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines to reduce the psychological stress an individual should maintain a healthy lifestyle which shall include proper diet, sleep, exercise, and even social contacts on phone. But is it so easy to maintain a healthy lifestyle when we all are facing the middle of a crisis? The uncertainty and worries related to finances, childcare, elderly parents, and job security. The uncertainty about the future, the constant news of the number of positive cases of this inevitable virus, has increased our anxiety but anxiety is quite normal but it leads us to overthink and this further led us to an emotional outburst that makes us use alcohol or other drugs. But after the government has imposed the opening of the shutters of liquor shops and the citizens have broken all the social distancing norms has now resulted in much more fear in the minds of people and that is intimate partner violence.
As per the survey by the Indian Psychiatry Society (IPS), it has been reported that there is a sudden rise in the patients suffering from mental illness due to the fear of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spread has increased which has created anxiety, panic attacks among the individuals. The Attending Council of Mental Health & Behavioral Science, Artemis Hospital highlights that mental health has always been a real problem and many people feel dejected from it due to the stigma attached to it, people refrain from discussing their problems and confined it to themselves. Sharing and discussing the state of mind without inhibitions is the foremost step that must be followed.
India used to invest in mental health only 20% of Rs 50 crore but now it has been slashed to only Rs.40 crore and it needs to be a boost as soon as possible. The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare started a helpline number so that people could easily contact the counselors and talk to them about the things they are feeling.
WHO has cautioned the whole nation about the pandemic and the restrictive measures to be taken by the countries for the betterment of their citizens which are: Firstly, be busy. Have a regular schedule. Help in doing some of the work at home. Secondly, starting continuing your hold hobbies or try the new thing you ever wanted but couldn’t do. Rediscover yourself and it will help you from negative thoughts. Thirdly, eat well and drink plenty of fluids. Fourthly, be physically active. Do simple indoor exercises that will keep you fit and feeling fit. Fifthly, elderly people may feel confused, lost, and need help. Help them with the things they need. Sixthly, keep the children busy at home, make them help you in household chores so that they become responsible and learn new skills.
The Indian Government, have also introduced helpline numbers for people who are facing mental distress due to the ongoing situation in the country.
Image from Medscape