Beat your Lockdown Blues: All your mental health queries answered by Dr Anjali Chhabria

I am a banker. As things are returning to normal in terms of work, my organisation is insisting on us re-joining full time. I am a father of two small kids and my wife is also working (at present from home). Going full time would mean my wife will have to take up entire responsibility of the house and kids. I feel quite guilty to do this to her and also being a threat to them by going to work daily. What should I do?

Ans: I understand that though people are moving out and about the threat of COVID hasn’t yet disappeared. Going to bank daily would mean interacting with a lot of people and also the travel part. Your guilt is understandable. However, let’s focus on the solutions involved here. You can either discuss with your boss about your situation and see what concessions can be made for you and if that seems unlikely, weigh in your options in terms of if there is any place else that allows work from home in your field. Conversing with your wife and creating a mid-way to this could also be helpful.

Last week we got a call and a mail from our university stating they were planning on conducting in-person examinations for final year students. I was watching the news when other exams happened around the country and honestly, I feel way too scared. But career is also essential. I am confused that whatever little motivation I have to study is also gone. If the news is confirmed then I have only one month to prepare for the exam. Please help.

Ans: A lot of stress is palpable owing to the pandemic and the uncertainty rather than your examination preparations. Certain tough calls might have to be made if the university decides to go ahead with in-person exams. Travelling, accommodation and sitting in the examination hall with hundreds of others could be a stressful sight. You can only do so much in this situation, that is, focus on studying and making safe travel and stay arrangements for yourself. Keeping in mind social distancing and sanitization, but also your examination is equally important.

My neighbour lost his job few days ago and since then he has slipped into a melancholic phase. He is the only earning member in his family and at present, with no steady income, there are constant fights in their house. Yesterday, I overheard the yelling and one of the statements he made was really alarming, 'I will go kill myself'. I am not sure whether he was under a fit of anger or sadness. But I don’t think he is handling this well. How can I help him?

Ans: First of all, thank you for bringing this into notice and being aware that certain statements shouldn’t be taken lightly, especially, suicidal thoughts. Your neighbour might be going through a tough time emotionally, as well as financially, due to which angry outbursts and statements that are suicidal in nature are said. You can approach the family and ask how things are at the moment and that you are concerned about their mental well-being. Psycho-educate them about seeking professional help to cope better and not resort to unhealthy ways of dealing with stress such as fighting, yelling or worse having thoughts of wanting to end the life. You can guide them to relevant mental health services so that this can be resolved at the earliest before things escalate.

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