SAHYADRI HOSPITAL
blog post

Mental Health Crisis like never before/ Overcoming the 'FEAR' factor

By Dr Nischal Rawal

Fear of contracting the virus , fear of getting admitted , fear of not been able to afford treatment , fear of death along with fear of future has put many in dual crisis , first of their health –their body and second- their mind . With all kinds of negative updates around you, the only factor playing around us is ‘FEAR’ .

Not so comfortable changes on professional front and uncertainty

What we are going through at present are exceptionally difficult circumstances. The pandemic has basically changed the way we live. We are facing stress in following areas of our life – Personal, professional, financial, health related, and social. We now have different work schedules and place; some people are losing jobs, juggling between household responsibilities and work, looking after children and elderly, constraints on resources, social isolation, restricted leisure activities, and most importantly constant uncertainty. People in initial period, coped exceptionally well, but now that the problem is getting prolonged and there is no end in sight, it is leading to worries and despair in many people.

Need to take care of Children and Elderly

Stress has a significant role to play in development of lot of health problems, both physical and mental. With the increasing level of stress that people are facing, more people are likely to present with Stress related health issues.No age group is immune from the effects of stress. Each age group of individuals has unique challenges to face, but most important amongst them are the children and the elderly. Children and adolescents are away from their peers and find themselves stuck to using digital medium for learning and socializing. Elderly are faced with the grim figures portraying the high rates of death in their age group and also have to fight isolation. They also may not have access to household help and resources to help them. Children though are more resilient and are able to cope better. I am of the opinion that it’s the elderly who are the most vulnerable.

But ………………Positive Changes are happening

Although the situation remains grim, there are certain positive developments which are welcome .Stigma is now reducing, especially after many public figures have now come out in the open with news of them getting infected with Covid-19. Also the attitude of people towards persons testing positive is changing since they see people getting better and returning back to life. Allowing people who have tested positive to quarantine themselves at home has certainly been helpful in easing some of the fears.

Get the right information

Getting the right and reliable information is the key. We encourage people to do the same and not believe news and information they get on social media. There are adequate, official resources available, which can help you get authenticated information.

Dealing with Stress is possible

Most of the methods to help deal with stress and reduce its harmful effect on us are well known from before. They are not difficult to practice and implement and its essential that we get to know them and start putting them to use. Things that certainly help are, regular physical exercise, maintaining daily sleep schedule, healthy diet. reducing screen time, engaging in some hobby or learning something new, relaxation exercise. YOGA, spending quality time with family or friends, meditation, etc . In the pre covid scenario most of us would complain not getting enough time for ourselves. So utilizing this time for ourselves will go a long way. If the person inspite of trying all the above self help measures still feels unable to cope , he should seek professional help and support.

Well most of the health professionals, me included have changed the way we can be reached for help. Most of us are available for Telephonic or Video consultations, so help is just a phone call away. Also for self help measures information is available via official WHO website and Arogya Setu app. My message would be – let us all overcome the fear factor , it is possible . Bad times sure won’t last long and this phase would also pass !