Bhopal: The corona pandemic and subsequent lockdown have afflicted many with mental illness. Many have lost jobs. Unemployment has set off depression. As a result, many have suicidal thoughts. Some have attempted suicide.
On the eve of the World Suicide Prevention Day Free Press talked to some psychiatrists, counsellors and psychologists in the city to know how they have tackled the cases of mental illness.
Most of them say they have counselled such patients as well as gave them medicines. They have been encouraged to keep mentally fit. Now, all are in the pink of health. Excerpts:
Dr Satyakant Trivedi, consultant psychiatrist- "I have received 40 cases. They include those attempting suicide, and those having suicidal thoughts. All such people are now stable. The number of mentally ill people has shot up by 40% because of the corona pandemic and subsequent lockdown. The social factors – such as unemployment, financial reform and responsibility of patients, which generally cause mental illness – are evaluated to treat patients. We take the help of counsellors and medicines. We encourage family members to take care of the patient, so that a mentally ill person cannot harm himself. Suicidal thoughts are a medical emergency. Such people should neither be scolded nor avoided. As far as burning our stress goes, it is a challenging factor. We keep fit by talking to friends and family members, watching TV, reading good books, and by doing exercises."
Dr Rahul Sharma, clinical psychologist- "We have received 10 to 12 mentally patients wanting to commit suicide during the lockdown. We have been going to quarantine and corona care centres where patients are treated. We have talked to nearly 2,000 people. Of them, 500 tested corona positive. Many among them have suicidal tendencies. They wish to commit suicide because fear from corona. We have to prevent them from committing suicide which is not a disease. We motivate them to change the outlook of their life. We do self motivation to bust stress."
Dr Ruma Bhattacharya, psychiatrist- "Our clinic was open during the lockdown period. Most of the patients were from Bhopal. People from the city would take online and telephonic consultation. Every day I would get three to four cases outside Bhopal. We have received more than 1,000 cases of bipolar mood disorder, depression and anxiety cases from April to July. Of these, 200 patients were having suicidal thoughts or ideas, and around 20 came to us after trying to commit suicide. But now, they are fine. If a person does not talk to his friends, keeps aloof from day-to-day activities and personal hygiene, should be taken to mind doctors. I used to handle stress by taking shower in the evening after work, walking 20 minutes at night, switching off mobile phones and by remaining completely silent for 15 minutes. That was my mantra."
Sindhu Dholpure, counsellor- "I have been counselling corona patients and their family members since May. I see 10 cases daily. Most of the corona patients were depressed and 30 % of them developed suicidal tendencies. They were disappointed, not because they were afflicted with the disease, but because of the behaviour of their family members and that of their friends. I have advised them to remain positive, watch motivational videos, read books and do exercises. I have also given some health tips like drinking warm water and herbal tea. I also practise what I preach. I do Jumba and read books to keep myself stress-free."