How to take care of your mental health during this pandemic
Mental Health Issues During Lockdown
The rising cases, panic, information overload, fake messages, etc. are sufficient to overwhelm any person. Realizing the need, many psychologists and psychiatrists have come together to form online support groups for those who are seeking for professional help.
Celebrities like Alia Bhatt, Richa Chadha, Sachin Tendulkar, and others have come forth to address the issue related to Mental health during the lockdown. And the University Grants Commission (UGC) has directed universities and colleges to set up helplines to address the psychosocial needs of students. With the lockdown extended till May 3, the need to focus on mental health will be equally important to taking care of your physical well-being.
MAJOR STRESSORS IN THIS TIMES OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
● Misinformation and information overload
● Lack of transparency during the quarantine
● Social isolation
● The guilt of being a possible cause of infection for others
● Getting stigmatized on the basis of ethnicity, travel history or symptoms
POINTERS TO STAY MENTALLY HEALTHY DURING LOCKDOWN:
● Stay connected through chats and video calls
● Join virtual reading, cooking or other clubs
● Avoid watching continuous news cycles
● Seek professional help, if needed
● Focus on the positives, like recovered cases
In a post on World Health Day, Richa Chadha (left) wrote, “Like so many people, I had been waking up with ANXIETY in the first week of this lockdown.”
She also added the following lines, “I felt , I could tap into the energy of the universe and it was so heavy. So I made it a habit to get up and #meditate every day... and of course I am using comedy to alleviate stress all around... ! Today is #WorldHealthday and a lot of people will speak about #coronavirus, as they should... But this #lockdown, #socialdistancing, #selfisolating is not going to be easy for our #MENTALHEALTH (sic).”
THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTAL WELLBEING DURING LOCKDOWN
On the surface, it may seem that a lot of people may be becoming more productive during the lockdown, but experts point out that the feeling of isolation grows on you and has a detrimental effect on mental health.
“The number of people showing signs of anxiety and panic has risen significantly. The fear of uncertainty has created a noticeable psychological impact on people,” says psychiatrist Dr Srikant Reddy.
SUPPORT COMES ONLINE DURING THIS LOCKDOWN
In such times, it can be helpful to reach out for support through and online platforms related to the mental health issues. According to Neerja Birla, founder and chairperson, Mpower, an online mental health platform, they received over 2,000 calls within the first five days of launching the platform.
Dr Nymat Chadha, a psychologist who has been providing such support on social media through the page ‘Let’s Talk Mental Health’, shares that the most prominent question that is leading to anxiety is ‘What if I test positive?’
To this, consultant psychiatrist Dr Abhishek Manmarde, who has been appointed by the government to counsel people in quarantine, says, “A lot of factors have mentally isolated people, including loss of wages, misinformation, over-information, and more. So, I keep recommending everyone to be socially online.”
GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT
The counselors believe that psychosocial support can help relieve stress from people’s minds.
Dr. Manmarde adds, “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are commonly diagnosed among those who have an unpleasant time while in quarantine. Alleviating their stressors by listening and providing them the right information may reduce such instances.”
IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO THINK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH AS PART OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH RESPONSE TO COVID-19 — Aiysha Malik, Technical Officer, Mental Health and Substance Use Department, WHO.
PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT HELPLINES IN INDIA
● NIMHANS: 08046110007
● Mpower, in collaboration with the Maharashtra govt: 18001202050
● Wellbeing Volunteer United: 18001210980
Disclaimer: Facts has been taken from various resources such as newspaper and online internet sources.