MENTAL health of lockdown society a matter of concern
The Hindu April 7 2020
Odisha State Disaster Management Authority directs District Collectors to collaborate with NGOs and provide counselling to the distressed
With the nationwide lockdown entering the third week, mental health experts urged authorities to adopt stress-busting solutions to keep society mentally healthy.
“The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) has found traits of behavioural disorder in people staying for longer periods at home. But we have not come across complaints, because no specific study has been carried out. We have, however, started to receive calls from people at our community psychiatry helpline number that they want consultations,” said Odisha Mental Health Institute Director Sarada Prasanna Swain.
Professor Swain said,
“We often resort to online games as stress-busting solution. Authorities must keep in mind that only around 30% people in the State have access to unhindered Internet connectivity. We have to think of people living in far off places where Internet connectivity is still an issue.”
“The community should take care of its own members in accordance with the socio-cultural and educational background of the family. Stress-busting solutions will differ from one family to another,” he suggested.
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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.
Hundreds of migrant workers are stranded midway on their journey home, unsure of reaching. Prof. Swain said they may not have the strength to overcome this unexpected and severe mental trauma.
Recognising growing anxiety in society, Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) directed all District Collectors to collaborate with NGOs for providing psycho-social counselling to distressed and geriatric people.
During a recent coordination meeting with OSDMA, several NGO representatives said that the prevailing COVID-19 scenario was revealing disturbed behavioural patterns among vulnerable communities, especially migrant workers from other States.
The Odisha government in association with UNICEF India has started an online competition — MoPratibha — for keeping children and youth active and engaged at home during the lockdown. Children between 5-18 years are participating in the competition. An online competition on road safety has also been launched.