Coronavirus and Its effects on Mental Health need to be discussed as this virus had low death ratio but one cannot deny its effects on mental health.
As the second wave of COVID ripples through Pakistan, and cases are once again on the rise,
the Education Minister of Pakistan, Shafqat Mahmood, announced the closing of all educational institutions from 26 November, 2020. Lockdown measures are once again to be observed as strictly as in the beginning.
Students across Pakistan are witnessed to be rejoicing due to the afore-mentioned announcement and being a college student myself, I understand why, more than anybody else. However, we are failing to consider the adverse reactions lockdowns like these seem to be having on our mental health.
When lockdown was enforced in early March 2020, adapting to the sudden change proved to be challenging not only for a select few, but people all across the world. Terror of the ongoing pandemic spread like wildfire, giving root to panic and mass hysteria. As jobs were temporarily lost and people became confined to their houses for the next couple months, reports of common mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression were shown to soar along with the increasing positively-tested COVID patients. Moreover, suicide rates increased as well, as over
Coronavirus and Its effects on Mental Health is serious issue as 23 cases of suicides linked to COVID were reported in Pakistan alone. Out of these 7 are confirmed and 4 are suspected. Keeping this in mind, according to recent reports, it seems that the mental health crises in Pakistan is on the path to becoming a very serious issue and will remain so even post-COVID.
Now, the intention behind relating the above information is not to rebel against the closure of institutions and other such socially interactive places. As we all know, maintaining social distances and strictly following the SOPs sketched out for us by WHO is proving to be the most effective method in minimizing the threat of exposure to this deadly virus. And large crowds in schools and colleges that are almost inevitable to gather, despite the strict rules being enforced to ensure SOPs are followed, gives room for rational to suggest the closing of these institutions to be for the better.
Nonetheless, along with physical health, mental health is also extremely important. These times are difficult and challenging for each and every one of us, not just those directly affected by the disease. To mitigate the psychological impact of this current situation, people can reach out to the different NGOs and helplines in Pakistan working for mental health awareness like the
Aman Foundation, BasicNeeds Pakistan and CareForHealth Organization.