Pandemic Affects Mental Health Of Children, Elderly: Expert

Dr Junaid Nabi

Srinagar: The coronavirus pandemic has affected mental health of the people due to isolation, restriction on movement, social gathering and idleness which has barred people from having normal social interaction and outdoor activities, a senior psychiatrist said Wednesday.

Dr Junaid Nabi, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar said that another reason which has affected mental health is fear, stigma and isolation period of Covid positive patients.

“The fear of catching infection and the later repercussions has 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,” Dr Junaid said.

Besides, he said, the stigma attached to covid-19 infection has also affected the mental health of patients.

While speaking about the behaviour of people towards coronavirus positive patients, the senior psychiatrist said that some people don’t come to help infected patients and instead they run away from them.

“This behaviour is absolutely wrong,” he said, while calling for a compassionate attitude towards patients to help them out of the disease.

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

“As children haven’t been to school for one and half year now due to pandemic lockdown, they were not able to interact, play and express themselves with friends and classmates”, he said, adding “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,”

He also advised parents to engage their wards in various hobbies and creativity.

“Working parents should capitalize this period to spend most of their time with children by involving them in physical and mental activities that would be beneficial for both parents and children.” he said.

Regarding old aged people, the senior psychiatrist said that the elderly are vulnerable as well as easy targets of virus and have been distressed with the pandemic.

“This age group also needs to be taken care of very well. It is the responsibility of 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.

The GMC Professor also urged people to follow SOPs properly and in a standard way and stressed on the idea that following SOPs doesn’t mean to make your life miserable.

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