• AMPlus Issue7

Mental Health and Covid-19

Ritish Raj

19th October 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected all parts of society. Movement restrictions as an effort to reduce the flow of the virus have resulted in adverse changes in our daily routines. It is terribly hard for people to manage their work/school/college—while pursuing their personal passion while managing to survive, and constantly fearing the health of their loved ones. The unprecedented scale of infection caused by Covid has caused an overwhelming response among adults. The mass-home confinement orders are new to Indians, and the numerous emotional consequences including stress, depression, irritability, insomnia, fear, confusion, anger, frustration, and stigma associated with quarantine, some of which continued after the lockdown were lifted.

Mental health is an important part of overall health and wellbeing affects how one perceives things, how they feel, and how they act. It might also affect how the person handles stress, relates to others, and makes choices during an emergency. And perhaps that is for a good reason, and one should seek help to cope up. Luckily there are numerous ways through which one can look after their own mental health and also help their peers for some extra support and care. People with pre-existing mental health conditions shall continue with their treatment and should be vigilant of any worsening symptoms.

Mental Health is Important (Source:Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Physical exercise being the flag bearer to boost one’s way to cure mental health issues act as a powerful start in this pandemic. Anyone who has exercised daily knows the power that a good workout has over their mind. One should remember that being fit during this pandemic is not important for their body but for the sake of their mind. Anxiety is a long term illness, for example, when compared with ‘worrying’ which is temporary.

The basic point being how the governing bodies are initiating in this process, The New England Journal of Medicine states that the mental health and emergency management communities must work together to identify, understand, and investigate proof-based resources related to disaster mental health, mental health triage and referral, needs of special demographics, and death notification and self-care. Risk-communication and management efforts should convey the turmoil of emerging issues such as prevention directives, availability of vaccine, acceptability, and required evidence-based arbitrations relevant to the pandemic and must address a span of psychosocial concerns. The mental health professionals can help craft messages to be delivered by trusted influencers.

The recovered Covid-19 patients tend to get more stressed due to home isolation, which may feel different for each. The emotional reactions comprising the recovered patients include constant stress about their own health and their loved ones—the experience of the virus throughout results into the fear of death accumulating a lot of stress, respectively. Sadness, anger, and frustration by observing one’s friends, loved ones having a fear of getting the disease from them in spite one being clear to be around others lead to a leap in the mental health prospect of the person.

The way of reaction varies from person to person depending upon the family background—one’s social support from the family—financial situations. In such a scenario, one needs professional help. Not a self-help write up. One should talk—listen, there is a reason why so many people turn to motivational podcasts, videos, and books. It’s because the experiences, words, and stories of others act as solutions for one’s problems. Everyone’s life is tough, even the most privileged people face issues that no one has an idea about. Try to look at the world as a collection of teachers. In this collection, the best teachers will be the one closest to an individual.

One should not try underestimating the power of people in their life. During the adulthood period, a person has the luxury of picking their inner circle, they tend to think in the same pattern as the people they hear and speak of during this pandemic. Post Covid 19 lockdowns, there has been a sudden shift of talk about mental health among people and remedies to cure it, one of them being ‘Meditation’.

Talking about the mental health of the front line workers in this pandemic, they are involved in investigating, screening, and also making sure of their families being well. They experience life threatening/traumatic events impacting their lives differently. In some situations, the distress can be managed efficiently to reduce negative health outcomes. Frontline workers should communicate with their co-workers, supervisors and fellow colleagues about the stress involved in their job. They should talk openly about how the pandemic has been affecting their professional—personal life. The frontline workers must explore the ways to reach out mental health resources in their respective workplaces. They should accept those things which they don’t have control over and put a halt on the stress involved. One should be proud of themselves to be performing such a crucial role in fighting this pandemic and that they are trying their best with the resources available.

(Sources: WHO, NEJM, Cdc.gov)

Edited by: Keyuri

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