29 May 2020
In the COVID 19 era, the focus is on the clinical testing and treatment of COVID 19 positive patients and slowing down the spread of the pandemic by asking people to stay home and also work from home. With majority of people around the world in lock-down & quarantine, their psychological strength is being tested to the hilt. The ‘psychological cost’ of COVID 19 is quietly growing parallel to the disease and gradually assuming gargantuan proportions. Dr Shelly a well established & qualified tricity based Psychological Counsellor, feels that Psychological problems could be the next pandemic.
Dr Shelly, who has recently started a website drshellysinghal.in which will act as a help line for people in psychological distress during COVID 19 says, “The resultant conditions due to lock-down are turning out to be the ‘world’s biggest experiment in psychology’. We are witnessing people developing a wide range of symptoms related to psychological stress and disorder. These include low mood, insomnia, stress, anxiety, anger, irritability, and emotional exhaustion among others. There are a plethora of reasons for these mental issues striking people. Some factors that have contributed to the problem are fear generated due to risk of getting the COVID 19 infection, fear of losing loved ones, as well as the prospect of financial hardship.”
Dr Shelly feels that not much is being done to put in place a system for providing psychological help to people facing myriad mental stress related issues during these extraordinary times.
Adds Dr Shelly, “The situation has already started manifesting itself even during the pandemic and many people are committing suicide due to the conditions they are being pitted against. The problem is serious and needs an immediate redress system.”
Dr Shelly provides a prescription to tide over the psychological crisis gripping humankind. Her recipe includes boosting mental health in the COVID 19 era to minimise the impact of the virus & social distancing in our lives, and to develop a healthier and more resilient ‘new normal’ for the future.
Dr Shelly’s advice includes the following:
(A)CONTACT FAMILY AND FRIENDS:
It is normal to feel sad, stressed,confused during the crisis. It is absolutely alright talking to people you can trust. Try reconnecting with old friends through mails, social media, phone etc.
(B) MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE:
This includes proper diet, sleep, and exercise, as these improve both physical and mental health. Exercise in particular increases brain growth factors.
(C)MINDFULNESS AND RELAXATION TECHNIQUES:
These can improve mood and sleep quality through enhancing control over the body’s arousal system. Investing in mental health will surely pay long lasting dividends for an individual’s future mental and physical health.
(D) STAY FOCUSED:
It is necessary to focus every day on what you can do and take actions. No matter how small although. We can learn to be more flexible and have acceptance.
(E) SPREAD EMPOWERMENT:
We can all take ownership of and be supportive and responsive to our community, family, neighbours, society etc. We are in a moment of ‘increasing revelatory tensions’ in all age groups & genders. For the first time for many of us, we are seeing how the ‘old normal’ in terms of both physical and mental health can take a backseat in the prioritization’s of daily life.
Sums up Dr Shelly, “Now is the time for individual and collective action, to shift to a healthier- ‘New normal’ for all; by establishing an even stronger and more resilient global community, one that practices both physical and mental hygiene.”