By Nikita Gupta,
While the ongoing COVID pandemic has not only struck the masses in terms of the physical consequences but has also taken a toll on everyone’s mental well-being. Mental health issues have always been stigmatised in our society. Anxiety, depressive symptoms, symptoms of internet addiction, pornography addiction, experiences of hostility, overthinking, changes in food and sleep habits, social empathy and relationship quality are mist of the cases.
Mental Health is an extremely overlooked issue in India, that has considerably worsened over this period of pandemic. Already being a major contributor to the burden of illness in India, suicide deaths due to mental health issues attribute to atleast one-third among females and one-fourth of all males. Most of this illness and death goes unnoticed.
The effect of COVID can be unmasked in an altogether different light once the normal workflow resumes eventually. Thus, it is important to equip ourselves to handle the COVID-19 not just physically by maintaining social distancing and using personal hygiene measures, but also emotionally by building and understanding coping mechanism to combat this pandemic and its aftermath.
People also need to keep themselves safe and engage in fruitful activities in order to keep their mental health intact. Depression may be the initial symptoms, but if accompanied with other symptoms like irritability, sadness, insomnia, social withdrawal may confirm the condition. Other disorders may include obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), Mania or bipolar disorder. In such situations, family support plays a vital role for every individual in beating the stress and anxiety.
Coping with stress is one of the aspects that need to be briefed in controlling their levels of stress. An important aspect of the skill is to learn to manage intense emotions like anger or sadness which can have negative impact on our health. It is thus necessary to learn positive coping styles and replacing passive with active mechanisms to learn to relax in such situations.
While treatments like psychotherapy, counselling and medications can create wonders, regular exercises, yoga and meditation help in maintaining the mental well-being. Though most of us do not actually understand the actual problem, assuming it to be a situation that will pass away, but they do not understand that leaving it as it is will only lead to further degradation of the condition. Usually, discussion on mental well-being is considered to be a stigma, where most of the people do not prefer to discuss about it.Even though they are not comfortable in speaking out their hearts, it is advisable not to remain silent, which we aim to highlight through such awareness sessions.
During these troubled times, I and my team have been actively engaged in conducting and participating in various Workshops, Webinars, Summits as well as launched exclusive COVID helpline, which has received an overwhelming response (attending over 20,000 calls) over the time and still continuing. Our approach has been in twofold: one focussed on scaling operations so more people can get access to mental health support in more languages and two: to create awareness about mental health through social media. Our aim is to create more accessible mental healthcare solutions and build a robust solution seeking platform as Mental health problems are extremely common.
Among various mental health related illness, Depression is most common and affects more than 350 million people of all ages, in all communities, and is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease.
(The author is Mental Health expert. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of Financial Express Online.)