By Shariqa Maryam Kubravi
Mental health…is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.”
– Noam Shpancer.
Human civilization probably is passing through the most critical juncture of this millennium while its existence is being challenged by the emergence of a novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-Cov-2) encroaching newer territories all over the world expeditiously .The 2019 Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak has been declared an international public health emergency on January 30, 2020 by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the disease, first reported from China in December 2019, continues to surge through the continents affecting many countries from Europe, America and Asia severely and is still widening its burden of disease.
The coronavirus pandemic is an epidemiological and psychological crisis. The enormity of living in isolation, changes in our daily lives, job loss, financial hardship and grief over the death of loved ones has the potential to affect the mental health and well-being of Humans,situation of socio-economic crisis and profound psychological distress rapidly occurred worldwide. Various psychological problems and important consequences in terms of mental health including stress, anxiety, depression, frustration, uncertainty during COVID-19 outbreak emerged progressively.
COVID’s Differing Emotional Impact on Women
As more research into the emotional and mental impact of COVID-19 becomes available, evidence is suggesting that the stress from the pandemic is being felt more acutely and having a greater impact on women than on men, A Total Brain survey shows that 83% of women compared to 36% of men are reporting significant increase in depression A recent Kaiser poll shows that 53% of women who responded report a significant negative impact on their mental health, compared to only 37% of men,those women already in emotional distress and anxiety prior to the pandemic, such as those suffering from post-par-tum or other depression, or those in unhealthy, abusive relationships, these new confines further exacerbate stress and underscore a feeling of being alone, trapped, and helpless in the face of their fear and anxiety.
Impact on older group! older people and also those with underlying health conditions, having been identified as more vulnerable to COVID-19, and to be told that you are very vulnerable, can be extremely frightening and very fear-inducing. The psychological impacts for these populations can include anxiety and feeling stressed or angry. Its impacts can be particularly difficult for older people who may be experiencing cognitive decline or dementia. And some older people may already be socially isolated and experiencing loneliness which can worsen mental health.
Impact on child physiology!Globally, the pre-lockdown learning of children and adolescents predominantly involved one-to-one interaction with their mentors and peer groups. Unfortunately, the nationwide closures of schools and colleges have negatively impacted over 91% of the world’s student population.The home confinement of children and adolescents is associated with uncertainty and anxiety which is attributable to disruption in their education, physical activities and opportunities for socialization Absence of structured setting of the school for a long duration result in disruption in routine, boredom and lack of innovative ideas for engaging in various academic and extracurricular activities. Some children have expressed lower levels of affect for not being able to play outdoors, not meeting friends and not engaging in the in-person school activities. These children have become more clingy, attention seeking and more dependent on their parents due to the long term shift in their routine.
Coping Strategies & Getting Help:
1.Make a Routine and Stick to It
2.Have Boundaries When Working at Home–
3.Stay Safely Connected
4.Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule
5.Exercise and Nutrition
6.Preventive Care For Mind and Body
7.Stay positive &strong is key for coping strategy.
For older people: On a positive note, there are many things that older people can initiate themselves or with the support of a carer, if needed, to protect their mental health at this time. These include many of the strategies that we are advocating across the entire population, such as undertaking physical activity, keeping to routines or creating new ones, and engaging in activities which give a sense of achievement. Maintaining social connections is also important. Some older people may be familiar with digital methods and others may need guidance in how to use them. Once again, the mental health and psycho social support services and other services that are relevant to this population must remain available at this time.
For children’s: Listen: Give children opportunities to talk about what they are feeling.,Encourage them to share concerns and ask questions • Comfort: Use simple tools to comfort and calm children, for e.g.telling stories, singing with them and playing games. Praise them frequently for their strengths, such as showing courage, compassion and helpfulness • Reassure children that you are prepared to keep them safe. Provide them with correct information through valid sources..
“Resilience isn’t a single skill. It’s a variety of skills and coping mechanisms. To bounce back from bumps in the road as well as failures, you should focus on emphasizing the positive.”…
The Author is MSC,Med,Net,Dca,Dptt,Pgddm
Department of education.