Indian Mental Health is heavily stigmatised in India and the pandemic has worsened the situation. India is going through it’s worst health and economic crisis in a century. As a result of the lockdown, over 12 crore Indians have lost their jobs. Nearly 84% households have suffered monthly income losses. This has caused a rapid rise in mental health cases.
Young people’s mental health during COVID 19
As per reports, there has been a sharp rise of mental health problems amid the pandemic. Restless Development India recently released a survey to understand the impact of COVID-19 on young people’s mental health. According to the report, 6.6% of respondents were accessing mental health services before the lockdown. These figures increased in the beginning of the lockdown. An additional 10.4% people began counseling services as a result of the pandemic. 17.7% of respondents reported having strongly negative feelings and 29% stated having negative emotions towards the quarantine and lockdown. A total of 46.7% of young respondents associated feelings of distress with the lockdown. This suggests that the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on young people’s mental health and overall well being.
Accessing mental health services
As per a survey conducted by the World Health Organization, Covid-19 has disrupted mental health services in most countries but particularly for children and teens. Restless Development India’s report also found that 27% of people previously seeking counseling services prior to lockdown were no longer able to continue due to various reasons. Financial constraints, lack of privacy and the inaccessibility of technology were the most common reasons among them.
Reasons for rise of mental health cases
While talking about their mental health, 32% of the respondents highlighted the fear of being infected with the virus, 29% were worried about their loved ones being infected, 26% pointed to financial troubles, and 23.4% stated frustration, boredom and educational uncertainty.
Concerns for a post-pandemic world
Almost 45% of the young people spoke about increasing concerns about their futures and professional lives. 34% about the health and well-being of their loved ones. 28% respondents were not able to support themselves or their dependents, and 27% feared being unable to complete their education.
What can help?
Useful advice on how to cope with mental health issues include doing small things to take care of your body. Know where and how to get help and make time to do things that make you happy. Connecting with loved one’s via phone calls or video chats helps in maintaining social support while still maintaining social distancing.
Sharmistha Dutta is a student in Social Work specializing in Livelihoods and Social Entrepreneurship from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Guwahati, India. She is working as an intern with the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning team at Restless Development India