“What mental health need is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.” Glenn
Amidst the devastating coronavirus turmoil rolling over its dreadful pathway with the second wave, wrecking the globe, the world is hoping for reduced incidence of many other medical catastrophes attributed to the lifestyle modifications opted by the general public. The corona related rising fatality related projected number on our media screens has been heart wrenching and dreadful. Many health researchers have investigated the opportunity in crisis for public health. Currently, despite a lot of panic and anxiety prevailing worldwide, including Pakistan, people realize what lifestyle choices related to healthy living are unavoidable.
We are all perceiving the negative impacts of the evolving pandemic, leading to a large number of infected and unfortunately deceased people; deteriorating economic, political and psychological conditions increasing day by day. Currently, the nation is on the verge of another mental health crisis, with daily bouts of depression, anxiety and fear. The mental distress is being generated by catastrophes like fire emergency in Hafeez Centre, Lahore, deteriorating economic condition and political turmoil of the country. A historic wave of mental-health problems is imminent, including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, street crimes and suicide.
The dark aspect of the viral war is rising meter of metal depression and suicidal tendencies among the families, particularly the young adults due to financial constraints. On the one hand, sedentary lifestyle, poor dietary habits and lack of physical exercise among the quarantined middle to high socioeconomic class individuals are complicating the health issues. There is an increasing incidence of severe obesity, diabetes and asthma in elderly individuals. On the other hand, unfortunately, but not surprisingly, millions of people are hungry and unemployed. Poverty, illiteracy and dense population are the provoking factors.
Additionally, mental stress is related to fear of contracting the coronavirus in the minds of parents failing to decide whether they should send their kids to schools regularly or not, despite the claimed low risk of mortality related to corona in young children.
One more public health issue in our country is related to those people suffering from various oncological diseases. Due to the transformation of tertiary care centres into the corona care units since March 2020, their staging investigations and management plans are being delayed, including the transplant and oncological surgeries. While these patients are fighting with their nasty tumors, the psychological fear of getting infected with coronavirus due to immunocompromised status and foreseeing its deadly outcome is another mentally disabling factor.
“The best thing you could do is master the chaos in you. You are not thrown into the fire; you are the fire.” Mama Indigo
The government assigned experts and health professionals have well-planned strategies and SOPs to deal with psychological as well as the prevailing physical ailments of cancer patients. They have structures proper triaged and in-patient units after proper corona screening, to avoid vertical transmission among the patients. The mental satisfaction of getting adequate treatment for their primary ailments will alleviate the stress of cancer patients. It will boost their immunity to fight against the pandemic too. Moreover, healthy mental support for elderly patients, rehabilitation for drug addicts in the young lot, and counsellor services in educational institutions will help in combating the prevailing mental stress.
Last but not least, the brighter aspect of the story is that the hospitals are being equipped with better medical facilities to combat with corona infection. More money is being reserved for health departments from the national budget. Better infection control facilities, more availability of ventilators and rising number of trained ICU staff will lead to better provision of the medical facility to the nation in the post-pandemic era.
The article has been co-authored by Dr. Maimoona Siddique and Dr. Aitzaz Bin Sultan Rai.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Dunya News’ editorial stance.