Mrs. Desai (name changed), a 60-year-old lady was recently diagnosed with covid 19. Even after the complete recovery, she is going through sleepless nights, fears that she would still be harboring infection and that she might infect her kin. She is always stressed and nervous all day. Often skips meals and stays alone…. sounds familiar isn’t it? Well, the ongoing pandemic has affected the mental health of the people in more than one way, and here we offer some insights into this matter.
What is this pandemic is all about?
Okay! We are not going to bombard you with the same, scary, technical jargon you have been hearing for a year now. In short, Covid 19 is an infectious disease that is caused by a coronavirus. This affects your respiratory tracts such as nose, throat, sinuses windpipe and lungs. It is known to cause illnesses varying from the common cold and fever to more severe illnesses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Due to its rapid global spread, it has been declared a pandemic.
How pandemic has affected Mental health?
The pandemic has not just affected one’s physical health but mental health causing stress, anxiety, and stigma. It has a crucial impact on individuals and the society experiencing a numbering of pandemic related consequences such as loss of income, isolation, social distancing, closure of workplaces, educational institutions and entertainment places, unemployment and on top of it, loads of misinformation in media. All these can trigger an array of mental health issues starting from sleeplessness to anxiety disorder to psychosis.
On the other hand, there is a high risk of infection and severe outcome to people with preexisting mental and neurological disorders as they are more vulnerable to SAR- COV-2, due to various reasons.
So, what is the way out?
By now, we know how the pandemic is affecting our mental health. Here are healthy ways to cope with stress and maintain our mental well-being.
• Stay connected – Talk to people you trust on regular basis. Share your concerns and feelings (of course following social distancing or over the phone)
• Try to take breaks from social media (avoid as much as possible!!)- try to spend much of the time with your family rather than listening to media that covers upsetting news
• Don’t believe everything you come across on social media. Check the facts from reliable sources and consult your doctor in case of some doubts.
• Take time to unwind - Involve yourself in fun activities or hobby. • Exercise regularly. You can walk with a mask on, in a non crowdy park of ground. • Practice yoga - Yoga helps in calming mind and body.
Dr. Bheemsain Tekkalaki, Consultant Psychiatrist
Mrs. Aishwary Patil, Clinical Psychologist
Neuropsychiatry Clinic, Belagavi (9164137499)