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Not just a health crisis: COVID 19 and its impact brings several fault lines to fore

The Coronavirus outbreak suddenly meant an end to life as we knew it. With major uncertainty surrounding the future, fear of catching the disease and anxiety over its financial implications, the crisis has impacted the mental well being of a large number of people.

Till as early as February, most people were busy planning their lives ahead – from a job change to wedding plans to planning a vacation, life was running at its normal pace. The Coronavirus outbreak suddenly meant an end to life as we knew it. With major uncertainty surrounding the future, fear of catching the disease and anxiety over its financial implications, the crisis has impacted the mental well being of a large number of people. Having put a huge strain on the economy, the lockdown has already spelled the beginning of job losses and revenue drops. The worst affected are the daily wage earners who are struggling to feed their families. With everyone confined to their homes and consuming non-stop news about new hotspots emerging and the disease graph rising, people are also finding it tough to cope with the self isolation. The crisis has not just created a health scare but has also brought several fault lines to the fore – be it social, familial or workplace related.

Key Challenges that we are seeing these days are:

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence is the violence towards the vulnerable partner in the relationship. Being confined in the house has caused tremendous pressure and frustration and often it is released on the vulnerable through violence, both sexually and physically. In the current situation the repercussions of violence increases as there is no ESCAPE.

Our helpline has received calls of distress, which we counsel, however, most will not dial a 103 number to get the authorities involved, and often continue to live with the deprivation of human rights.

Reasons could be many, such as frustration over lack of space, lack of control, financial struggles and lack of support. The physical as well as psychological harm to victim, as well as the perpetrator. depletes ones mental health.

Self-care to manage and balance ones mood is extremely important. Daily avenues of relaxation and stress control through mindfulness, meditation, physical exercise, good nutrition which will help keep the anger at bay and will equip you to better handle it if it arises.

If one finds themselves losing their temper, stimulants must be limited for example control the intake of alcohol, caffeine or any other stimulant drugs which can make it difficult for them to contain their anger.

Overwhelmed Employees

A lot of employees these days are overwhelmed as they suddenly feel that they don’t have any control over their lives and can be laid off any time because of the poor financial health of companies. Moreover, with schools and day care centres closed parents have to juggle both work and child-care as they indulge in the practice of home-schooling their kids.

This is why it’s important that employers recognize primary caregivers who are working for them and reprogram their HR policy so that such employees can get a little more time to work things out. Moreover, employees must also stick to a proper routine which ensures they are able to handle both work and childcare with enough time for themselves as well so that they are able to function properly.

We have people calling our helpline who show signs of paranoia and present irrational projection of the future. Our volunteers dispel the irrational belief in order to help the caller construct a helpful belief system.

Spike in Suicidal Tendencies

Mental health helplines have received a lot of calls from people steeped in hopelessness, who believe that the only way out is through ‘suicide’. We escalate calls of people who claim either to harm themselves or others directly to our supporting psychiatrists. The psychiatrists who speak to such individuals, prescribe medication to reduce the anxiety, and will solicit the support of the family members of the caller.

Tele consultations and tele counselling sessions need to be set up for anyone with suicidal tendencies. Self help measures like practicing techniques of meditation and mindfulness people better equipped to work through their emotional grievances.

Porn Addiction

Isolation brings boredom and boredom when not properly handled can give way to an addiction. Porn addiction has been on the rise ever since the lockdown as many people have claimed to be addicted to it and are unable to control it. Online traffic data released by porn site Pornhub on April 2 revealed that the site has witnessed increase in hits from India since the announcement of the lockdown.

Anonymous callers claim that the lock down has locked down their ability to meet their lovers and this resulting frustration brings about the desire to watch porn. Sexual frustration is harmful to mental health, but can be supported through meaningful engagements with family and friends. Both on and offline.

Spend time in partaking in meaningful conversations, webinars, active learning and develop other interests. The time that you would technically spend on your device surfing pornography you can schedule other tasks that you enjoy.

All addictions require a fair deal of will power. If this addiction impacts your ability to have a meaningful relationship with life and your partners, then it is time to give it up and emerge from this addiction.


Tags assigned to this article:
COVID-19 addiction

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