COVID 19 and Emotional Health: April 9 2020
Many initiatives, differing focus ………….
The last few days has seen a multitude of articles, radio programmes, TV discussions and many initiatives to understand the emotional impact of lockdown, and to disseminate emotional health skills with the general population.
The following is a summary to bring many of these developments and make some observations.
The biggest news of the last two days is the NIMHANS, Bangalore responsibility to develop mental health information, education communication (IEC) materials for the Government of India( NIMHANS pitches in to shun stigma and psycho-social trauma, by Afshan Yasmeen, The Hindu, April 8 20201) .
Union Health Ministry has entrusted the institute with the task of preparing information, education, and communication material on COVID-19
In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Union Health Ministry has entrusted NIMHANS, the country’s premier mental health institution, with the task of preparing information, education and communication (IEC) material on psychosocial aspects related to the disease.
NIMHANS has prepared short posters, pamphlets, eight-word SMS messages, and one-minute videos providing tips on how to overcome various aspects such as stigma faced by people under quarantine, stress that students and parents are undergoing due to indefinite postponement of exams, and psychological trauma in different life stages – children, elderly, and pregnant women – during the pandemic.
The effect of the lockdown has been reported.( Mental health of lockdown society a matter of concern, The Hindu April 7 2020 by Satyasundar Barik)
Experts warned that anxiety levels among people was rising, with the impending economic crisis weighing on their mind. News of salary cuts and lay-offs are adding to woes. Many are not able to restructure their lifestyles in the wake of the lockdown
There are reports of how people are coping with isolation( How Indians are coping with isolation by S. Gowri, The Hindu Apr 9 2020)
Terraces and balconies are becoming the new social hotspots, as the nation-wide lockdown teaches Indians to find solidarity with their neighbours…… A semblance of normalcy is what these unexpected connections are creating at this point. At a time when social media has become our window to the world, something as simple as a smile from across the balcony is enough to remind us that we are all in this together.
There have been radio programmes on various aspects of emotional health and COVID 19. The Director of NIMHANS, Bangalore talked in details about the effects and the ways to cope with the impact of isolation.(in Kannada)
There were special songs about the emotional health and CoOVID 19
Zoom meeting /strong>
In a Zoom meeting of multidisciplinary team of mental health, health and media professionals, over 90 minutes, the various aspects of the impact of the lockdown, the measures to address the needs, the avenues to reach the generalmpoulation were considered in detail.
On Television, two important panel discussions were broadcast. The first of this on DDNEWS in which Dr.Avdesh Sharma was one of four specialists.
His mental health observations are included here.
The other detailed session on mental health was on MIRROR NOW TV channel.
This was open for callers to call and ask the experts about their experiences and solutions.
What’s the effect of Lockdown on mental health? | The Urban Debate
Two voices of Ms.Jhanavi and Dr.Ghoortu, about the positive aspect of the pandemic was very special. (India Today, Voices)
In an interesting personal article, Dr.Shashvat Shere share his experience of washing dishes as a metaphor for cleaning the mind by going inside ourselves.
If you do any work, litterally ANY work, with all your attention to it or ‘mindfully’ as it is popularly called these days, you do not get bored or tired, but feel fresh after it.
The vessels need more cleaning from inside than from outside and the same goes for our mind. We need to clean our mind from inside more than just the outward behaviour visible to people.
( all the articles are posted in full in the blogpost)
Helplines all around the Country:
One of the important development is the reaching out by professionals, NGO’s and others to reach the general population. Besides the National level NIMHANS helpline (080-46110007) there were many as can be seen below. These are only few of the helplines.
To conclude, the pandemic has brought to the forefront the impact of the pandemic/lockdown on the population as well as emotional health measures that can he3lp the population.
In a way it is the worst of the times for emotional health but could become a good opportunity to disseminate mental health in the general population.