Distress calls, anxiety likely to increase post second wave, psychiatrists say

According to city-based psychiatrists, there is a fear of a sudden increase in psychological cases after the second wave by at least 30 per cent
A distraught relative of a Covid-19 patient sits on the steps near the parking lot of Naidu hospital in Pune. Relatives of patients have been running from pillar to post searching for injections, oxygen. (Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)
A distraught relative of a Covid-19 patient sits on the steps near the parking lot of Naidu hospital in Pune. Relatives of patients have been running from pillar to post searching for injections, oxygen. (Pratham Gokhale/HT Photo)
Updated on Apr 17, 2021 05:14 PM IST
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By Prachi Bari, Pune

The second Covid-19 wave that has distrubed normalcy and adding an unprecedented burden on healthcare is expected to cause more damages.

According to city-based psychiatrists, there is a fear of a sudden increase in psychological cases after the second wave by at least 30 per cent.

“At this time, we have been receiving getting calls regarding Covid anxiety, phobia, and financial insecurities for the past 10 to 15 days, even before the lockdown was announced. There is a definite increase of 10 to 20 per cent these days taking new cases to more than 30 per cent after the first lockdown,” said Dr Dhananjay Ashturkar, psychiatrist, Asthaa hospital, Chinchwad.

Following the first wave, the divisional commissioner of Pune had announced post-Covid 19 counseling centres for dealing with psychological problems in September 2020, whereupon at least 12 per cent of the 2 lakh discharged patients sought help. However, according to psychiatrists, this time the number might go up post the second wave of Covid-19 and lockdown.

He further added that they are expecting more calls post the 15-day lockdown.

“The people have still not recovered from the first lockdown and just gotten back to their regular way of life when suddenly this lockdown has been announced. It is a major setback. Everybody is affected in one way or another, but my advice would be to follow the government instructions, stay at home and if anyone feels anxious, call a doctor for help,” he added.

Dr Archana Jawadekar, psychiatrist and professor with DY Patil medical college also stressed that the impact of the first wave of Covid-19 and the lockdown was still there and this extended lockdown has hampered their health.

“There is a mixed reaction to this lockdown and yes, there is an immense fear and anxiety among people, especially the youth about job security,” she said.

Jawadekar has also researched the psychological impact on people and found that women had more anxiety attacks and problems as well as youth who are now uncertain about their future.

Psychiatrists feel that the government is concentrating on the health sector and getting oxygen beds and ventilators and completely brushed aside the psychological effect on the people in general.

According to Dr Purva Deshpande, consultant psychotherapist and private practioner, there’s a rise in anxiety and people are seeking help and intervention for better mental health not only for themselves but also for the whole family. ]

“The second wave has pushed people to mainly two polar opposites. The first one is people getting anxious to the core of their survival, and second, of those who have absolutely started denying any concern over health as the anxiety is paralysing and paramount,” she said.

Dr Deshpande added, however, the disguised presentation of this denial can be seen in everyday behaviour in the form of increased irritability, disturbed sleep and pervasive feeling of helplessness.

“The way emotional reactions are formed, dealt and dissolved depends to a great extent on the age and the resilience of the person,” said Dr Deshpande.

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Connecting NGO offers support

The rising Covid-19 cases and the grim situation surrounding healthcare are forcing many in need of emotional support. In its endeavour to provide mental and emotional support, Connecting NGO is offering free support services.

“Over the past financial year Connecting Trust has received an average of 202 calls per month and has answered an average of 59 emails per month. It’s important for individuals to know that if they feel low, distressed, and/or suicidal, they are not alone. It’s okay not to be okay. We’re here to listen,” said Liyaan Sataravala, chief executive officer, Connecting NGO.

If you feel low, distressed and/or suicidal, you are not alone, you can call- 9922004305 | 9922001122 (all days, 12pm - 8pm) or write to distressmailsconnecting@gmail.com. For volunteer opportunities, emails can be sent at connectingngo@gmail.com.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021