Covid 19 pandemic is affecting mental health on an unprecedented scale. People all over the world are grappling with fear, anxiety and insecurity over their survival. In the second wave of coronavirus pandemic, the data shows that there has been a huge spike in calls to helpline numbers seeking mental health advice.
We have many NGOs and individual psychological centres providing mental health counselling amid the helplessness, anxiety and grief caused by the deadly virus. Because the virus is contagious, people have become distrustful and suspicious and even in some cases hostile towards their fellow human beings.
“There has been a rise in the number of people having a sense of helplessness, acute anxiety, panic, grief and guilt, and post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) as they struggle to come to terms with the deadly pandemic,” tells the head of a popular NGO foundation in India.
The NGOs have been striving hard to help those who are combating COVID-19 related ailments. One NGO shared that their team of seven professionals has handled around 7,000 calls in over a year. The team members handle 40 calls daily.
“After analysing the data since November, calls for help from those with suicidal tendencies have risen to 7 per cent of the total, from a norm of 1 per cent. Mostly, it is those who are suffering an economic crisis and hopelessness-either the financial burdens have increased, or their ventures have been hit badly,” the report further read.
People’s mental health is getting affected in the following ways:
- Anxiety over the closure of businesses, unemployment, sinking financial conditions
- Panic over possibly running out of food and essential supplies
- Obsessive worry and negative thoughts about their loved ones potentially contracting the virus
- Confusion over when the lockdown in India will end and when they can get back to normalcy.
- Stay at home adjustment disorders and relationship problems as a result of being stuck at home with family members or spouse at all times.
- Sense of despair, doom and gloom about the future of humanity
- Over-indulgence in conspiracy theories and fantasies about the pandemic
In such cases, one can try taking time for art, try freelancing, attend various online competitions to learn and explore, create a fun blog, and take a break from social media. If you have children at home, be a role model to them because they turn to adults for guidance on how to cope with problems. Panicking will only make them imitate you. Maintain composure in front of the child and give them all the support they need.