Mumbai: Anxiety and mental illness takes a toll on the COVID warriors

Following the outbreak coronavirus pandemic, there has been a rise in cases of depression and anxiety. Psychologists revealed, people from different walks of life have been suffering from some kind of mental unrest during the period of lockdown.

The symptoms didn't spare the Covid warriors as well. After rigorously working for more than six months now, many of the frontline workers have started experiencing kinds of psychological unrest within them.

"In the last two months, we have counseled number of patients who have been on the forefront in the fight against pandemic. Most of them are now suffering from depression, sleeplessness or anxiety," said Dr. Ayush Dattareya, a psychologist and social worker.

Dattareya runs his NGO 'Saathi', where he counsels patients and help them outgrow their traumas and inhibitions.

"Most of the patients are not even aware that they are going through some kind of problems, they were brought to us by their family members or their friends, once we start therapy, they realise that something is not right," the doctor stated.

A 47-year-old doctor on the condition of anonymity informed, since April he didn't have a full night's sleep. The doctor was a member of BMC's Covid task force, deployed in Dharavi.

"We used to work for 14-16 hours a day, seven days a week. I used to go home for hardly five hours and couldn't even sleep. Following which I developed symptoms - my hands started trembling and at times it felt as if I was having a panic attack," the doctor said.

The doctor ignored his symptoms until one day in July when he fainted while being on field duty. He was rushed to the hospital and since then he is undergoing counselling.

Another 25 year old junior doctor recalls the last six months being the most haunting phase in her life. Being a junior doctor, she was on duty at a Covid care special ICU facility.

"Atleast one patient used to die at my facility each day due to Covid. I used to feel empty from inside as if this is never going to end, one day I started jittering and my colleagues got scared," she said.

The doctor hails from Jalgaon district, she moved to Mumbai to study medicine at a city hospital, and since then she has been on her own.

"I had no one to speak to in the city during this testing times, I used to feel helpless," she added.

Meanwhile, Dr. Dattareya attributed, that atleast two out of five frontline workers are facing some kind of mental illness.

"Many of the people out there haven't even realised that they are unwell. They feel sleeplessness and anxieties are normal and they will fade away with time, but things don’t always work like that," stated the doctor.

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Free Press Journal