Mental Health & Covid-19

The toll on mental health as a by- product of COVID-19

On March 11, 2020, The World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, the outbreak of COVID-19. Traveling across borders, the virus had spread worldwide, and the situation was already out of control. The virus became the talking point everywhere and we have been living with constant fear for our lives ever since. The list of casualties has continued to grow; some have fallen prey to the virus, while others have been unfortunate with the mental and emotional toll it brings. Nobody is spared the horrors of this destitute condition.

With economies crumbling, people have had a hard time keeping their jobs, struggling to earn their bread, watching their loved ones suffer, life-long dreams have taken a hit, and nightmares have become a reality for many of us. Life as we know it came crashing at us, leading with a widespread feeling of hopelessness and a fear of the unknown. As much as the virus has affected our physical health, mental wellbeing has also been affected and surprisingly left unaddressed more often than it should. Along with the general tension and confusion surrounding our lives, the major source of stress has also been the random lockdowns, COVID restrictions, and social distancing, and underwhelming support from forces makes it too much to handle at times.

“Added to the fear of contracting the virus in a pandemic such as COVID-19 are the significant changes to our daily lives as our movements are restricted in support of efforts to contain and slow down the spread of the virus. Faced with new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues, it is important that we look after our mental, as well as our physical, health.”

-WHO

Mental health and wellbeing of the population as a whole has been impacted adversely. As we know, Man is a social animal, and for a social animal to practice social distancing can have severe repercussions for their integration. With the soaring number of deaths, a considerable portion of the population is dealing with grief and sorrow. While dealing with such grief, we seek the support of our loved ones the most. Unfortunately, due to the current situation, many of us have found ourselves alone, practicing social distancing and dealing with the trauma on our own. For those testing positive, staying in isolation in itself has been a challenging experience. Many patients face symptoms of depression, withdrawal, anxiety, schizophrenia, and dementia. Besides this, there have been reports suggesting a considerable increase in the number of suicides and deaths related to cardiac failure during the last two years.

These are desperate times for us all, and now, more than ever, we need help with our mental and emotional health. There are days when we find the need to talk to someone, share our emotions, and express ourselves so we can let go of the negative emotions we have been holding on to. We tend to talk to our near and dear ones, but sometimes we may overwhelm them and there is a fair chance that they might not be able to be the kind and sympathetic ear in a time of our need. Moreover, it is likely that they might already be dealing with their own stress and grief, like we all are. These are situations where the role of a medical healthcare professional comes in. As hard as it might feel, there is nothing wrong with addressing the issue and getting professional help when you need it. These people are trained to deal with such situations and can help detect and counter the symptoms. They are good listeners and even better judges of the problems we are facing and the best solution providers.

“Cognitive therapy seeks to alleviate psychological stresses by correcting faulty conceptions and self- signals. By correcting erroneous beliefs, we can lower excessive reactions.”

-Aaron Beck

It goes without saying that we, at a personal level, need to take better care of ourselves and our near and dear ones in order to quell the anxieties that we might be experiencing in this ongoing pandemic. These are testing times for all of us, but we cannot afford to lose hope. We have to stay strong and sail through because there is an end to this pandemic and every passing day brings us closer to it.

It is imperative to support a healthy lifestyle that includes a wholesome diet comprising food items that help boost immunity. There are many practices in Ayurveda that can be followed. It is also important to break a sweat and do some form of exercise in order to keep ourselves active. It is no secret that exercising releases the feel-good hormone, which is much needed around now. A good night’s sleep and proper rest are as important as any workout. Like our body, it is equally important to take care of our minds, have a positive approach and keep a check on negative and destructive thoughts. In this particular aspect, we can avail knowledge and support as there is a vast literature available on this topic. The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy is one good example. The book has been a revolution, helping people understand the importance of positive thinking and the power we hold within our minds; to summon this power is the need of the hour.

At IDS Infotech, we believe in evolving and adjusting continuously with the changes in the environment. We are enablers and we try our best to perceive the needs that arise along with change in order to facilitate growth. And the global pandemic has been a significant change. We have tried to do our bit in contributing towards the battle with novel Coronavirus. Last year, we worked with PGI Chandigarh to build a Patient Management System to help them effectively manage the increasing footfall and hone their internal processes.

Amidst the ongoing second wave of COVID-19, IDS has joined hands with the District Administration of Mohali as technology partners to implement a helpline for counseling and psycho-social support for people in isolation and quarantine. The helpline is operational seven days a week and can be accessed by anyone, anytime between 10 am to 5 pm.

It is an impeccable initiative to address the mental and emotional health issues of the masses and offer much-needed help. The helpline connects people with trained professionals- psychiatrists and psychologists, who are veterans in their respective fields and are now at a phone- call’s distance from those who need guidance. Individuals can seek help from the comfort of their homes as movements are restricted to curtail the spread of the deadly virus. The helpline is open to one and all; anybody who feels the need to get an opinion from a medical professional can reach out. Most of us are away from our friends and families, many have lost our loved ones, and some of us simply don’t have someone to talk our hearts out. The doctors on our helpline aim to fill in these roles. They are kind, empathetic, and well-equipped to understand all sorts of emotions. The helpline acts as a safe space for those who feel the need to share their thoughts and feelings. One can find a sympathetic ear and also get professional advice without worrying about their privacy. Most importantly, they understand people’s need to express themselves and are willing to help fulfill this need. Through this initiative, we aim to provide a helping hand for society and do our part in the fight against the virus.

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Ishika singh

Being an English degree graduate, Ishika has a good command of language. Putting it to use, she is working with IDS as a content writer.

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