There is more to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) than what meets the eye. The palpable symptoms of the disease are being battled through effective medical care; however, its pervasive effect on one’s mental health is still being debated. The promotion of mental health during Covid-19 has largely remained neglected in India. While organizations pledged to humanitarian causes like child rights or donating towards poor children’s education in India are plenty, a lot many have failed to seek a collaborative model of care for all children, especially, those exposed to traumatic life events like deaths of loved ones during an epidemic.
21-Day Lockdown may Spur Mental Imbalance
The rampant spread of COVID-19 among most nations has resulted in more than 5,00,000 people getting infected and nearly 23,000 deaths to date. In India alone, the number of people getting treated for the disease has gone up to 753 while 20 have succumbed to its effects. With no effective drug or vaccine in place to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, healthcare workers and leaders of various countries have urged people to avoid close and personal interactions.
India entered a phase of total lockdown till April 14, 2020, following a sudden spike in coronavirus cases as many people jumped essential quarantine measures while more people returning from already affected countries tested positive for the disease. The resulting economic slowdown has hit most Indian workers very hard, especially, the daily wage laborers. This has triggered anxiety and depression in many people that may largely go unnoticed or unresolved due to limited access to mental healthcare facilities.
Uncertainty in Living Affects Mental Health of Many
As businesses close and people are forced to live in forced isolation, talking about potential effects on their mental health has become imperative. Restriction on movement has left many people stranded and bereft of essential needs like food, water, and transportation facilities back to their families. Adding to the difficulties arising from financial distress, news websites discussing the rising epidemic situation and social media platforms debating on the possible deterioration of existing conditions are likely to take a toll on young minds who would view life with pessimism and continued fear of death.
Social Distancing Marring Social Support
Every society thrives on social support derived from social togetherness. Mental health during Covid-19 is largely affected due to the isolation of people. The government’s appeal to practicing physical distancing has wrongly been translated to social distancing, thus, leaving a void in many people’s lives.
News of many patients contemplating suicide due to comorbidity of depression with the disease is getting increasingly common. Chances of stress are more for people subject to quarantine with illiterate and unsupportive family members. The heightened sense of anxiety has resulted in an increasing number of people complaining of frequent headaches, nightmares, panic attacks and continued feelings of exhaustion. Doctors treating patients for long hours have often complained of the agony of trying to look for possible cures despite having only a partial understanding of the disease. The rights of children are at times violated as people struggle to survive within limited means.
Adhering to Regulations and Recommendations
While the World Health Organisation has shared guidelines to maintain mental health during Covid-19, simple lifestyle changes like stretching of muscles and trying simple yoga exercises can have a miraculous effect on one’s health and fitness. Inducing small alterations to your diet can benefit one in the long run. While adjusting to a new routine suddenly may seem difficult, making small tweaks to your daily lifestyle may help. Some of these include:
- Set a daily routine: Languishing on a sofa or bed will only invite boredom and unwarranted negative thoughts. It helps to make a list of activities that you had missed out during your hectic schedule and then set a routine to accomplish them one by one.
- Work from home: Being focused on your work helps to retain sanity. However, while working from your home, choose a space with ample light and ventilation to keep your creative juices flowing.
- Take care: Tired of dark spots and blemishes on your face? Well, this forced quarantine may be a good opportunity to try on some new face packs or indulge in cleaning and scrubbing of your old dead skin to give way to a fresh and clear looking skin.
- Stay connected: Physical isolation does not mean that you must be cut off from the rest of the world. Use online mediums to stay connected with your friends and loved ones.
In sync with the state regulations and requirements, Smile Foundation is striving to provide its services remotely to its beneficiaries. Given the current situation, the mental and physical health of the people needs constant attention. Addressing the same, Smile is conducting teleconsultation of all its beneficiaries, this includes regular follow-ups on an individual’s health, maintaining a steady record of the patient’s and referring them to a doctor or medical institution when needed.
Whenever difficulties like Covid-19 arise, it is the poorest who lose not only the source of income but also the aid they get from various NGOs and agencies working towards their betterment. Smile will ensure that this doesn’t happen and intends to continue its work of bringing quality healthcare to people’s homes with the help of technology. Social and physical distancing doesn’t have to result in emotional distancing as well. Smile will continue to strengthen its emotional bond with its beneficiaries and serve them well in this critical hour of need.