There is no mask for mental health

Mental health, in most parts of the world is very much misunderstood and there are a lot of misconceptions about it. Many people (especially children and young adults) believe that mental health is related to one's mentality or mood. It is often thought that someone with mental health issues is insane, crazy or simply out-of-this-world. Very seldom do they know that it is nothing like that. Mental illness is an umbrella term for a wide range of conditions such as depression, dementia, eating disorders, schizophrenia, etc.

The media has been quick to cover this event but they failed to highlight that mental health affects 400 million adults around the world today. There is a need to understand and work upon the mental health of these people.

The world came together to fight the spread of the pandemic. It caused panic and fear among the public. The physical symptoms of COVID-19 generally appear within a fortnight. However, prolonged exposure to a pandemic can cause mental trauma.

The trauma induced by a pandemic has an unfavorable effect not only on the mental health of the person who is affected, but also on his or her immediate social circle. Interpersonal tensions, an increase in spousal violence, child abuse, disassociation from current social groupings, and even agoraphobia are all possible outcomes.

It is not possible to determine if the mental health of a particular group will be affected by the outbreak. However, some groups, such as persons with mental illnesses, are more vulnerable than others. The world is currently at an active trauma stage, which is related to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the battle against mental health is yet to begin.

A survey conducted by the World Health Organisation on the major disruptions of mental health showed results that only 17% of countries have full funding for their mental health and psychosocial supports. This suggests that they are not investing enough in these areas. All of this emphasises the need for additional funding for mental health. As the outbreak spreads, demand for national and international mental health programmes, which have been chronically underfunded for years, will grow even more.

The WHO also suggested various measures to address the psychological and mental health considerations during the outbreak. For instance, individuals should not watch or listen to news about COVID-19. The public should also amplify positive stories about the survivors.

Pursuing your passion, learning new hobbies, spreading good news, meditation, and staying in touch with family and friends over the phone and through social media are some of the ways to combat anxiety and depression.

There is still time for society to take efforts to prevent the mental health crisis that will inevitably follow the pandemic. It is not easy to train our minds to follow a routine or engage in constructive work during these trying moments. Taking one step at a time to maintain mental safety and emotional stability on an individual level can, nevertheless, contribute to society's overall mental health.

(COVID-19 causing mental illnesses due to isolation, loss of a loved one or constant anxiety)

( The pandemic directly affecting an individual’s mental health and wellbeing)

Authored By: Akshata Kapoor

Edited By: Uddantika Kashyap