Covid-19 and the rise in mental health disorders

More than 60% of people reported disruptions to mental wellness services, according to a recent WHO survey

By Sonica Aron

The impact of the pandemic goes beyond it just being a physical threat. It brought economies to a brink and changed lives, and way of work as we knew it.

The world saw millions of deaths in a short span of time, with the medical fraternity being at a loss with how to treat the virus or the symptoms.

Business struggles, to unprecedented curbs on social interactions, prolonged work from home, fear of layoffs, pay cuts, online schooling of kids, and lack of physical contact with family members, friends and colleagues have been taking a toll on the emotional and mental wellbeing of individuals.

Undoubtedly, dealing with the dread of contracting the virus as well as worrying about the ones we love, especially those who are vulnerable, have been a real challenge for each and every one of us.

Additionally, this has been particularly tough for people with disabilities, senior citizens and people who are already struggling with mental health problems.

All of these brought the need to take emotional and mental wellbeing of people seriously to the fore.

The changes people have been facing in their lifestyles are not only triggering mental health conditions, but also exacerbating the existing ones like work related stress and burnout.

Moreover, Covid-19 itself possesses the power of increasing neurological and mental complications, such as delirium, agitation, and stroke.

So far, there have been many studies, surveys and researches conducted that show that youngsters, as opposed to senior citizens, are most vulnerable to increased psychological distress.

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Perhaps, it is in light of the fact that their needs for social interactions are much stronger. It would be appropriate to say that fear and anxiety can be considered normal reactions in situations of uncertainty. However, sometimes the above feelings are expressed in ways that turn out to be hurtful to you as well as that of others.

According to a recent survey by the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 60 per cent of people reported disruptions to mental wellness service including youngsters and teenagers (72 per cent), older adults (70 per cent), and women needing antenatal or postnatal services (61 per cent).

Approximately 35 per cent of the respondents reported disruptions to emergency interventions, including those for people experiencing prolonged seizures; severe substance use withdrawal syndromes and delirium.

Here are a few tips for the ones struggling to open up about their mental health issues:

– Nobody is a superhuman in this world. Everybody gets tired or overwhelmed when things go wrong. In case things are impacting you mentally or emotionally and you feel you can’t cope, don’t give a second thought about asking for help.

Your family members or friends may be able to offer practical help or at least be someone who listens. If not, local services are there to assist you. For instance, you can join a support group to help you with making necessary changes to your life, find a counselor to help you deal with your feelings, or simply train your mind to make a fresh start.

– Always remember that problems are temporary, and this too shall pass. Focus on finding solutions to your problems rather than discovering problems to every solution. One must remind oneself of one’s strengths, achievements, successes, support and confidence, and be sure of going around the obstacles in his/her path, one at a time.

Read: Covid-19 vaccination: What India can learn from the U.S. experience (July 13, 2021)

– Exercising regularly is known to boost your self-esteem and also help you concentrate, sleep, as well as feel better. Exercise keeps the cerebrum and your other indispensable organs healthy. It has been proven to be effective in improving mental health. Exercising doesn’t always mean going to the gym or heading for a long run. It can include small walks in the park on the green grass, gardening or even housework.

-Try to reduce the amount you watch, read or listen to news that makes you feel anxious or distressed. Seek the latest happenings at specific times of the day, or when needed.

– Pick up a hobby. It might seem like a chore to start with but stick to it. May be just for 30 minutes every day- paint, or read, or join some class….over a period of time you would realize that you have started enjoying it. Have made new friends, a new network, and learnt something new.

The bottom line

The present times have been tough on all of us. The pandemic took a toll on the mental and emotional well-being of people across the globe, so we are not alone.

Even after nearly two years in, people are still struggling to accommodate the  changes as constrained by the global health crisis.

Remember to be kind to your mind as well as to others’. Remember that we all need to heal and recover. It will need compassion, empathy and mindful action for ourselves and for others so that we emerge stronger and better.

(Sonica Aron is the Founder & Managing Partner, Marching Sheep, an HR advisory firm. She is also a certified coach for psychometric instruments)

One Comment

  1. Dr Sardrarji, MBA, MBBDS, PHR, PHD, LLM, BSC, FRCS FNA, ATM, PPE

    Abbey gandu, drink som bhankass juice i.e gandih piss and eat gujju baiya snakes. then you be fien. go play some ball pop and dangce BHANKRA. ya indian good.

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