COVID-19 AND MENTAL HEALTH : LANCET STUDY
A study published in the journal Lancet Regional Health-Americas reported that 42 percent of the total participants in the study were the victim of mild psychological distress and 10 percent of people were undergoing moderate to severe psychological distress. According to WHO, the current index for mental illness in India is 2443 Disability-adjusted life years - DALY per 100, 000 the population is 21.1, the loss is even economical, turning up to the loss of USD 1.3 trillion but the disparity begins when the expenditure for mental health prevention and care is only 537 crore rupees as per the budgetary release and the reality is unfortunately even more disparate. As if the government has done a sort of formality by following the guidelines of the mental health care act 2017 which provides a legal framework for protecting the rights of people affected with any mental disease which is congruent with the United Nations.
Convention on Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD). According to the data by WHO, for instance, depression is a common mental phenomenon that is estimated to be 5% of the adult population suffering from it globally. The action plan is already on paper, all the required paperwork is already done but the actual scenario is kind of different. Most people suffering from mental illness don't even realize that they are ill or even when they have insight about that, they fail to seek help for it due to the stigma associated with going to a therapist, the fear of being judged pervades. This happens when the concept of mental illness is segregated from the concept of health in common man terms. As our brains are an integral part of the body, their health must be a priority and must be included in the concept of health and wellbeing. In our daily life, we fail to address the care for mental health which is an integration of prevention of mental illness, treatment, and rehabilitation.
Determinants of mental illness are dependent on several factors including individual factors for instance a recent study showed that persons with the prior illness tend to develop a mental illness like depression and anxiety as a comorbid condition to prevailing illness. Other factors that may precipitate the mental illness symptoms are environmental stressors that cover a broad spectrum of causes like monetary distress, inability to manage work-life balance are more likely to develop psychological distress or an imbalance during covid 19 pandemics. Reports by American cancer society -ACS that used data from Cancer prevention study-3 (CPS-3) which was a cohort of 2018 and
July to September 2020 showed that the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic implicating anxiety and depression in the U.S based Men and women. The evidence is enough to point out the importance of regular mental health assessment and emotional support to those who have prevailing situations and are under isolation following safety protocols.
Appropriate emotional support and social engagement are crucial for dealing with mental illness as isolation may even exaggerate the comorbid symptoms of poor mental health. Constant contact with peers and loved ones may prove to be beneficial for finding a resolution to the turmoil. On the role of policymakers, it must be a priority to promote access to appropriate resources and cost-effective treatment of basic and common mental health disorders at the primary health care level, and de-addiction and proper rehabilitation centers should run for maintaining the wellbeing of the population must be the oath of the current government authorities.
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