THD NewsDesk, Bengaluru: In a mental health study conducted by SPIF (Suicide Prevention India Foundation) in May 2020, the rates of suicide contemplation and self-harm have gone up. The study also noticed that the search frequency of the word “suicide” on Google has increased. The team that conducted the study also saw a spike in reports of virus-related suicides, along with the number of calls related to suicide ideation and emotional anxiety. This is alarming, especially after India being dubbed the suicide capital of the world.
The study also stated that patients with COVID-19 suffer from delirium, insomnia, depression, and anxiety. There have been many incidents where a person after being diagnosed with COVID has been shunned by either their own family or their landlord, or their colony. So, a person who is already scared and anxious is forced to be cut off from society; such an incident is bound to leave a long-lasting mental trauma in the patient. Many doctors and nurses working with COVID patients have also been harassed during the initial months.
“The lockdown has increased the already prevalent risks related to mental illness, financial insecurity, and work stress, and has added new ones like loss of control, depletion of social networks, job uncertainty, abuse, and social isolation,” remarked Nelson Vinod Moses, founder, Suicide Prevention India Foundation.
As India witnesses a sudden spike in COVID cases across the country, there is a simultaneous increase in mental health issues as well. In Chhattisgarh, from the months of April to June, close to 20,000 patients visited the OPD (outpatient department). According to the consultant- psychiatrists, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders are caused due to the fear of infection, job loss, and financial instability, and basic amenities being scarce or unavailable.
While the medical and healthcare staff are still learning how to cope with the rising number of COVID patients while treating the disease itself is posing to be a big problem with hospitals overcrowding and unable to accommodate many patients who need attention. Mental health is adding to the healthcare providers who are themselves becoming negatively affected by the distress spread everywhere around them.
According to Prashant Pandey, a psychiatric social worker talks about the stress felt by mental health professionals, “Knowing well about the repercussions, we maintain our calm.” Whatever the case, the mental health professionals do not show their own distress to the patients.
Pandey further said that India’s mental health has been seen to be impacted in two ways-
- The problems faced during the COVID pandemic like rising in domestic violence, fear of losing one’s own life as well as that of loved ones, isolation, fear of being quarantined
- Financial issues, extended working hours due to unclear working hours, lack of medical care, and scarcity of medicines.
Long term mental health issues will be caused by the future economic fallout which has already begun to affect people in various sectors. As the number of cases keep increasing, the mental health crisis is becoming deeper, making one fear for the kind of future India is set to have even after the virus gets contained.