Call a Friend, Read to Kill Corona’s Side Effects On Mental Health
A suspected novel coronavirus (COVID-19) patient admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital committed suicide by jumping from the hospital building.
According to the police, the deceased was a 35-year old man from Punjab with a travel history to Sydney. The man was admitted after he arrived at the IGI Airport on Wednesday around 9 p.m. after he complained of headache. He was only a suspected case.
The ongoing situation amid the outbreak of the pandemic in the country is not only a physical hazard but is also taking a toll on mental health, doctors say.
Such incidents affect individuals and society on many levels, causing disruptions. While stigma and xenophobia may be seen as social aspect of the pandemic outbreak it may have a long lasting impact on the mental health at the individual level too, Roma Kumar, Senior Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Max Hospital told IANS.
Kumar said: “There’s a fear or panic due to the current situation. We are all feeling uncertain about what could happen in the coming weeks, as we hope to slow the spread of this pandemic.
“Feelings of anxiety and uncertainty are completely normal during times like this.”
Kumar said that “this is confusing and stressful time for all of us and it can affect our mental health. Any rumour or speculation can fuel anxiety.”
She suggested that at such times where social distancing is required, people should try and keep in touch with their friends and family by telephone, email or social media.
“Involve your family and children in various indoor fun activities. We need to minimise the negative impact it has on our children and explain the facts to them.”
The doctor advised that people can create a new daily routine that prioritises looking after themselves. “Try reading more or watching movies, and exercise.”
She also suggested that people who are already suffering from mental illness, should continue their treatment regimens. She advised people not to indulge in smoking and drinking.
“Consider developing a plan for tele-health sessions with your psychologist. You are worthy of trust, accomplishment and love. Allow yourself to hear that,” she added.
Arti Anand, consultant clinical psychologist at Sir Gangaram Hospital told IANS that the results of an event like the present pandemic may be drastic on the mental health of the people.
“Anxiety, depression, stress, lack of confidence, state of confusion to name a few. People may suffer indecisiveness tendencies even if it all gets over. They will feel fearful, sad, angry and helpless. They will be scared in using public transport, contacting other people, walking on the road, even in following their daily routine like going for work.
“It is called post traumatic panic attack and may result in social isolation and clinical depression. They will not be able to believe that the virus has gone, they will think that it is still there or may come back.”
The doctor also added that people in quarantine may go through boredom, anxiety, anger, restlessness and frustration.
“If the disease is transmitted in their family members through them, they may feel guilty. They can also develop suicidal tendencies.
“Many people might find it difficult to go to their jobs and face financial difficulties to add to their stress level.
“Most vulnerable are the old age people. The fear is instilled in their minds. They are not socialising for example they are not going for a walk in the park out of fear. This can result in stress and loneliness.”
Anand suggested some measures to remain unaffected from all these mental illnesses during this time.
“In many countries people are doing activities like meditation, following hobbies, reading and so on. These things can help negate the effect of isolation,” said she.