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Pandemic affects mental health of children, elderly people: Psychiatrist

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Calls for adopting positive approach

Srinagar, May 26: “Corona pandemic has affected mental health of the people due to isolation, restrictions on movement and  social gatherings, and idleness, which has barred people to having normal social interactions and outdoor activities,” said Dr. Junaid Nabi, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Srinagar.

Another reason which has affected mental health is fear, stigma and isolation of the Covid positive patients, the psychiatrist said.

“The fear of catching infection and the later repercussions have taken maximum toll on sound minds,” said the psychiatrist and added that it is essential to overcome the fear psychosis with a positive mind that “the pandemic phase is temporary and this shall pass too”.

Besides, the stigma attached to Covid-19 infection has also affected the mental health of patients, he said, while speaking about the behaviour of people towards Covid positive patients.

“Some people don’t come to help the infected patients, instead they run away from them; this behaviour is absolutely wrong,” he said, and called for a compassionate attitude towards patients to help them out of the disease.

Moreover, children and old-aged people constitute two susceptible age groups who have been silently affected by pandemic and it has also impacted their mental health, Dr Junaid said.

“As children haven’t been to school for one-and-half years now due to pandemic lockdown, they were not able to interact, play and express themselves with friends and classmates,” he said adding that due to this isolation children tend to develop stress and anxiety, which parents need to take care of so that children don’t feel lonely.

“Parents need to engage their wards in various hobbies and creative pursuits whole the working parents should capitalize this period to spend most of the time with children by involving them in physical and mental activities that would be beneficial for both parents and children,” he advised.

Regarding the elderly people, the psychiatrist said that they are vulnerable as well as easy target of virus and have been distressed with the pandemic. This age group also needs to be taken care of very well, he said.

“It is the responsibility of the younger members in a family to share valuable time with them and interact more and more with them to keep them in high spirits.”

He said that SOPs should be followed properly and in a standard way and stressed on the idea that following SOPs doesn’t mean making your life miserable.

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