The covid-19 outbreak has pushed many people into the ‘feeling depressed’ zone as the two waves of the pandemic adversely affected numerous lives. COVID-19 has created a cyclical public health concern by developing several mental health problems and making it difficult for people to maintain their physical activity, a recent government study reveals. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) conducted the survey and interviewed around 500 people nationwide. According to the survey result, most people were getting depressed because of their fear and lack of awareness regarding COVID-19. Most people experienced a sense of helplessness in this lockdown period. They were also worried about losing their jobs. People who live far from their loved ones were extremely concerned about their family members.
Kavish Sachdeva, a 32-year-old banker, shared his concerns about living far from his family during this lockdown. He said that he works in the Bangalore branch of City Bank. Being a Bank employee, he didn’t get the opportunity to work remotely. He had to go to his workplace regularly during the nationwide lockdown. As his parents live in Delhi, he could only contact them through phone calls and video chat. According to him, he experienced the most traumatic situation of his life during that phase.
“My father was suffering from old age-related health problems for the last few years. I couldn’t visit my parents due to a lack of transportation. I was very much worried about their health. I used to feel so helpless while watching the news and seeing the pathetic situation of our country. Whenever I switched on my TV, I could see only the news of deaths, increasing numbers of COVID patients, lack of oxygen and medical support, and people running here and there for hospital beds,” said Kavish. According to him, the overexposure to coronavirus news triggered his mental health. He started to develop several depression symptoms after a point of time. But the situation became better over time, and he visited his parents almost after one year.
Dr. Jughal Prashant Singh, professor and head, department of community medicine, Indian Council of Medical Research, said that the proportion of participants with chronic and mild depression during this lockdown was 28% and 51.6%, respectively. Dr. Singh later explained, “There is no doubt that many people experienced chronic anxiety during the first and second wave of this pandemic, mostly due to the fear of contracting the virus and seeing so many patients dying every moment. The pandemic has increased the risk of psychological distress among people.”
Another report has found that people who were more physically active during the lockdown experienced fewer mental health issues. As per data, an increasing number of suicide cases were reported during the lockdown in the country. The data revealed that many people had committed suicide because of losing their jobs and lack of financial security. A large number of corporate employees lost their jobs in the pandemic, and due to which they suffered from various psychological problems. This situation often led to them deciding to end their lives. “Whenever you feel low, speak to your loved ones. If you cannot visit them in person, try to talk to them through phone calls. If anyone is feeling depressed, they shouldn’t take intoxicants as a cure. Consult with a mental health professional if you find it difficult to handle your mental health condition. Talking and discussing can solve half of the problems,” renowned psychologist Mrs. Medha Mehta advised.
*(Name and place changed due to privacy concerns)