Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Mental health

It is obvious that there is a growing unrest among people of all ages as the incessant updates about COVID-19 have started to take a toll on the psychological and mental health of all. With the closure of offices, universities, colleges, schools, etc., it is in the fitness of things to foresee a substantial rise in unease, depression, isolation, domestic violence, etc. Employees are concerned about their employment, students are worried about their studies, and economy is in distress. Life in general has come to a halt with everyone looking for answers and remedies. Families are worried as some of their loved ones are in quarantine centers. The thoughts of a family member being in danger or exposed to danger persist in the minds of family members, hence, giving way to significant mental exertion on them. What adds to such distress is the misinformation looming large on the bogus social media handles of people. The propagation of misinformation or fake news is another growing concern which is adversely affecting the psychological and mental well-being of people. Patients with existing mental health issues such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are at possible risk of capturing more anxiety and depression. Workers in the unorganized sector have lost means of livelihood and are not in a position to provide for their families. The mental pain and agony of such workers is beyond imagination. It is disheartening to see such workers getting engulfed by panic and fear though the Governments have taken steps for them. But are those steps enough to help them come out of this discomfort or did the governments wait for too long to come up with a noteworthy plan of action; these questions remain in suspended animation. Doctors are doing a commendable job which must be appreciated profusely but they are also concerned about their safety as they have to work with COVID-19 patients for a significant period of time. They are worried about the fact that they might pass on the disease, if infected, to their family members and hence are afraid to go back home, which adds extra mental distress to them and their families. Medical healthcare workers including nurses are developing increased and unusual anxiety as well as distress. They are not in a position to sleep well resulting in harmful effects to their physical and mental health. This pandemic has also made their life miserable but they are putting their best foot forward while discharging their duties. Students are deeply anxious about their future plans and especially those who were about to graduate this year, are confused and stressed about their ambitions and goals. Virtual classes are appreciable but can they be a harbinger of productivity, is a question which is on every student’s mind. Examinations have been delayed and all this is affecting the young minds considerably. Everyone is uncertain about the stretch of this pandemic and people are feeling capricious about it. In such a situation, it has to be our responsibility to read such news only which is authentic and genuine. The source of the information has to be checked at all times and the government has to take steps in curbing rumour-mongering completely. Social media has to be used carefully and cautiously as there are innumerable fake handles spreading false information on such platforms. We have to interact with our family members, elders, and friends constantly and exchange ideas with them so that our mental health remains at peace. Engaging in fruitful activities such as cooking, gardening, reading, playing, writing, etc., have to be undertaken in a more frequent manner. Online counseling sessions on mental health must be organized by schools, colleges, non-governmental organizations, governmental organizations, etc., so that people are encouraged and motivated to lead a peaceful life at this cataclysmic juncture. It is apt to enunciate that mental health issues are growing at a great pace but it is up to us to diminish such a rise by incorporating certain changes in our lifestyle, in our way of thinking, and in our way of dealing with such a devastating pandemic. At the same time, as we are witnessing significant surge in anxiety and depression all over the world, time is ripe to build a robust mental healthcare system in line with the Mental Health Care Act, 2017.