Taking care of mental health

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Apart from making people sick and snatching their lives, the Covid-19 is also dangerously impacting the mental well being of the people. Humans are known as social animals because they live in a society; mingle with each other and; share each other’s joys and pains. But the pandemic has deprived them of the very basis that makes them human. It has forced them to live in isolation by cutting all social contacts. Audio and video calls can’t be an alternative of the human touch. The lack of human touch besides a constant fear of catching the infection and also worrying about the dear ones is turning people into psychological wrecks. Though it is happening everywhere in the world but in Kashmir it is bit more serious as the violence and conflict of past three decades has already had impacted the mental health of so many people here. While the government is doing its best to try to contain the pandemic, efforts need to be taken to take care of the peoples’ mental health too.

For those reeling under the age-old structures of deprivation and violence; illiteracy, hunger, disease and death; the misery and suffering is a shared experience. For them choice dangerously narrows down to where they no longer choose. They just have to live it. With all its physical, emotional and psychological burdens, what matters is the existence – nothing more, nothing less. Celebrate it as “human resilience” or call it the shrinking of options for existence, the crude and ugly realities of life when studied shatters many a myths that make our make-believe and best possible worlds, where people, like the frightened pigeons, prefer to shut their eyes and not see the cat, thinking they could simply wish away the unpleasant.

Kashmir has been a sort of battle zone for some three decades now. Obviously like elsewhere in the world, the conflict in Kashmir has had its toll on each and every sphere of life and activity. Unfortunately, even when violence had had a profound impact on every dimension of life, so far not many efforts have been dedicated to study and gauge this impact. For instance, it has been empirically proven that a huge chunk of Kashmir’s population is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD) in its various manifestations, which is direct fallout of the unabated violence people have endured here. It is high time that the society and the government agencies and institutions start putting in place the required wherewithal for taking care of the people’s mental and emotional health. Looking at the conflict and related violence in Kashmir only through the political lenses is not ok; there is also an emotional and psychological side to it, which also needs to be accounted and cared for. So far not much has been done on this count. This is possibly one of the reasons why the society is witnessing ever-increased incidence of drug abuse, suicides and similar other vices. The pandemic has come as yet another trigger for psychological disorders and it is thus necessary that the government as well as the civil society tries find out ways to help the people on this front.

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