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MENTAL HEALTH IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

It is time to face the truth: Covid is affecting our mental health. The crisis is having an adverse effect not only on our daily life but also on our mental health. At times, conditions might aggravate, and the individual must seek a physician’s help. This is no time to shy away or to hide one’s worsening conditions under the shield, for that may worsen situations.

Since the onset of the pandemic, which had been warning the world of severe mental crises among patients and their family members, India somehow battled through the rising covid cases and returned to a comparatively safer status in 2020. But the second wave has swept us and somewhat caught us off guard. Each day accounts for more than thousands of active cases and hundreds of deaths throughout the country. The Health sector of the nation, mainly in Delhi, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and West Bengal, is thoroughly rattled by their inadequacy and dearth of essential equipment and supplies, one of them being Oxygen cylinders. To add to that, the pyres never seem to stop burning. This is a terrible time when uncertainties have encroached on our lives along with the virus.

Every single phone call seems to be ominous and bearer of bad news. It is often observed in senior citizens living in constant fear of being affected by the virus, despite the vaccine doses. The continuous demand and chaos concerning the availability of medical help, medicines, and oxygen cylinders have gotten to their nerves. It is worse for those whose children might have to be quarantined in some other part of the country. Anxiety and panic attack is gripping both young and old minds. We are living through a dark time where the idea of breathing without a mask often accompanies the thought of death. It is often reported how covid patients suffer from depression. This can be a result of witnessing crises and death from a first-hand purview. Observing such devastations and human agony from close quarters can be disastrous to mental health.

Last year’s covid situation has prompted the government to close down schools-colleges until normality restored. Almost a year has passed since the decision and that of online classes. Sitting before a computer/laptop/mobile phone and that too without the plausible interaction with the teacher and physical interactions with friends is gradually becoming tiring. Needless to say, quality learning decreased from what lasted from before. To add to that, students often find it difficult o focus in class for a longer duration. Such strenuous classes often result in pain in the ear or redness in the eye, or headache. As a student, I have often felt I am losing my urge to learn or study. Many of my college-going friends have affirmed this and conjectured at the creative block and intellectual stagnancy.

Covid-19 trauma is challenging to do away with. Yet, this is also true that maintaining or sporting healthy mental status makes it easier for an individual to combat. WHO has recommended deep-breathing, connectivity among friends and relatives, a balanced lifestyle, etc., among many others. There are various psychologists, counsellors, and activists who are reaching out to listen to your worries and anxiety. Trust them and give them a chance. Mental Health is a massive taboo in our country. The time has come to break away from these redundant shackles and seek help when need be. Staying healthy is all that matters right now.

As I look at my burning country and the increasing death counts and active cases, a line from King Lear comes to my mind:

“As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods.”

Written by – By Trina Ganguly

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