COVID 19-Mental health Innovations
Professional experiences and responses
One of the important outcome of the COVID 19 Pandemic is the large focus on mental health. I can only think of the Tsunami of the 2004 and the earlier 9/11 terror attack of 2001, when a similar focus was made on emotional health of the general population.
The postings of today and tomorrow will focus on the experiences / responses mental health professionals and the general public.
The three writings are by Prof. Vimal Sharma of Manchester, U.K. , Prof.Priti Arun, Chandigarh and Dr. Nagarajiah of Bangalore.
Prof. Sharma reflects on the larger issue of the COVID 19 and identifies 5 responses to cope with the pandemic, namely, connect, be active, take notice, keep learning, and give. Wise and practical steps of emotional health.
Prof.Priti covers the impact of lockdown on children. The article is very special as it brings her rich experiences with children in general and children with a diagnosis of disabilities in particular. The article’s strength is the specific activities that can be taken to improve emotional health of children.
It is a model to follow in all emotional health interventions- not give advice but empower.
Dr.Nagarajiah shares the impact of the lockdown on himself and his immediate community. He also shares his way of maintaining emotional health.
MAINTIANING ROUTINES DURING THE LOCKDOWN
Corona virus has definitely caused severe problems for poor people and middle class people. It is difficult for them to overcome.
It is easier, to some extent for housewives, since they are engaged with routine household activities as usual, but they face the additional burden of other family members particularly husbands who keep on nagging them by asking repeatedly coffee, eatables etc which them won’t do themselves, we are seeing how domestic violence is increasing.
The situation is like that.
I get up by 5 am, do yoga from 5.30 am to 6.30 am , bring milk and vegetables, do some walking from 7 to 7.30 am in terrace, take bath and finish pooja from 9 am after reading paper.
After breakfast spend some time viewing TV. On TV the same old news. I also spend some time in computer sending notes to students and taking classes on line. I also walk up and down in the house.
I also spend time with grand children helping them with painting, drawing etc, do some gardening work. I do not sleep in day time. I spend time in additional reading, attending to Emails and do some review of articles sent by editors etc
Evening watering the garden, walking, spending some time with TV, sitting in the balcony alone thinking of my childhood etc and how the days are for our children in present and future, what all they have to face in future etc.
The coming days are very tough for our future generations.
The media poses lot of anxiety and fear on the public.
Politicians are not good role model. They say something and do opposite and this confuses the public.
The course and symptomatology of COVID 19 virus increases the fear and anxiety of public because experts are not consistent on course and symptoms of virus. For example, some say 3 feet social distance, some say 6 feet and one expert said it about 28 feet and even WHO reported one time it is airborne and then one time it reported not airborne etc.
All these creates confusion and people are fearful, anxious, expressed some hypochondrial and OCD signs.
Now I have completed most of my responsibilities, I am not afraid of death but worried about spreading infections to others in the family.
My area people are looking for me for some sort of knowledge about the virus. There are different types of write up in newspapers. My neighbours ask me about present and future economic conditions of their own ,what will happen to their children and the country , they think the Virus has no end point because of its nature of contamination.
They say it is boredom to spend time, all work has stagnated etc.
I am trying to counsel them, but practical aspects are difficult .
For example, some have started constructing houses, but everything has stopped , bank loans are bothering them etc.
Time has to answer everything.
Additional Professor of Psychiatyric Nursing(retd)