New Delhi: The Covid-induced lockdown has been lifted from most regions and many other measures have been relaxed. But the belief that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect mental health.
The uncertain nature of the pandemic, and the chaos associated with it, continues to increase psychological stress, which manifests itself in rising cases of depression, anxiety, insomnia, behavioral changes, health anxiety, nightmares and sadness, among others, all of which could contribute to suicidal thoughts and behavior, mental health experts said Friday. .
September 10 is celebrated annually as World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide remains one of the leading causes of death in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), accounting for 1 in every 100 deaths. Every 40 seconds, a person dies, according to the World Health Organization. This year’s theme is “Creating Hope Through Action”.
“A lot of people have experienced economic and financial stress, some have lost their jobs, others are worried about their future and career, some have lost loved ones, and some have had medical problems or are going through medical problems now,” said Dr. Samir Parikh, Director of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Fortis Healthcare, IANS.
“The Covid virus has led to a definite increase in mental health concerns. Factors such as sadness, loneliness, social isolation, major depression, financial stress, job loss, marital/family disagreements, alcohol/drug dependence, feelings of hopelessness/loneliness, and a lack of meaning in life One, everyone can contribute to suicidal thoughts and behavior,” added Dr. Sameer Malhotra, Director and Head of the Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences at Max Super Specialty Hospital, Saket.
A study published in the International Journal of Mental Health Systems in December last year showed a 67.7 percent increase in online news media reports of suicide attempts and deaths by suicide.
The study conducted by the Indian Law Society, Pune, revealed that there were online news reports of 369 suicides and suicide attempts during the Covid lockdown compared to 220 reports in 2019.
According to experts, Covid has contributed to mental health concerns in children, young and old alike. Children experience disturbed sleep-wake cycles, irritability, lifestyle problems, and loneliness. Many have also indulged in intentional self-harming behaviour.
Adults struggle with work-life balance, emotional exhaustion in efforts to coordinate and fulfill responsibilities, sometimes marital/family discord, and alcohol/drug abuse. Older people feel lonely being separated from children due to travel restrictions. Because of physical comorbidities, they cannot contact friends and family personally.
How do people get out of this situation?
Ask for help when needed. Ensure support and assistance for people when expressing suicidal thoughts and feelings of hopelessness. Guiding and instilling in them a sense of hope, optimism and positivity.
“There is a growing need to strengthen support systems. We must look at good social and economic support for people at risk. Organizations need to become mental health-friendly and support their employees. More focus must be placed on lifestyle and mental health outcomes,” Barrick said.
He also noted the need to intervene in a timely manner, setting up helplines in all languages to facilitate the access of people across the country for support if needed.
In September 2020, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment introduced a free 24/7 mental rehabilitation helpline ‘KIRAN’ (1800-599-0019) in 13 languages. Several other people have announced an emotional support helpline number, where people can reach out. This includes PeakMind (08047092334), Narayan Seva Sansthan (NSS) an NGO, Parivartan (07676602602).