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Pandemic and mental health

India’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic has been unique. Clampdowns had been imposed in India much earlier than in many other countries. But the numbers of those affected are rising and India reports fresh cases every day. However, the Government of India has started reopening activities and are taking steps to meet the current and future challenges posed by the pandemic.

Nevertheless, a plethora of misinformation has been circulated through social media platforms recommending cow urine, bleach and cocaine as a recommended treatment. The WHO publishes advice for the public and these materials are regularly updated based on new scientific findings as the epidemic evolves. But still people resort to wrong methods of treatment. A large number of people have emotional breakdowns, and they feel nervousness, tension, stress, anxiety, depression and loneliness and are experiencing sleep disturbances.

Fear of losing livelihood and going out, insecurity for oneself and loved ones, stigma towards people with symptoms of cold and cough, and a compulsive need to hoard groceries are some of the instances which are impacting people’s mental health. Those with any previous mental health illnesses are especially vulnerable to these effects. Psychological crisis intervention in India is much in need.

Possible interventions by psychologists can instil hope and help people fight the situation.

With the aim of dealing better with the urgent psychological problems of people during COVID-19, making use of digital technologies with clients can bridge social distance. The central idea is to take sessions online using the Internet and the whole intervention process can be planned accordingly. But everything comes with its pros and cons. Similarly, online psychological services have their own challenges related to privacy, confidentiality, technicality and communication issues. Hence, psychologists should make extra efforts to support people who are marginalised and isolated, including the elderly, undocumented immigrants, homeless persons and those with mental illness.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 12:40:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/pandemic-and-mental-health/article32123998.ece

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