Since the outbreak of COVID 19 in late 2019, hundreds of thousands have died worldwide. In order to control the spread of the virus, countries imposed lockdown, confining people to the boundaries of their home. With the outburst of Corona dating back to over a year, many people have suffered severe mental health issues due to the confinement faced after the announcement of lockdown.
Mental health issues are a range of conditions which can have a negative effect on one’s mood or behaviour. Common mental health issues include depression and anxiety.
Stress, pressure and loneliness faced by people, often due to self-isolation can be inducing factors that can ultimately lead to mental health issues. In the months since COVIDs outbreak in Pakistan, the number of people diagnosed with mental issues has dramatically risen, as well as the suicide rate across provinces. Over 25 suicide cases have been linked with COVID since its outbreak, with likely more to come if measures aren’t taken. It is estimated that about 50 million people suffer from mental health issues in Pakistan, with a severe lack of psychiatrists to treat them. This means that obtaining mental health treatment can be an issue for many people, resulting in their disorders worsening. Fear of coronavirus as well as sadness caused by isolation and the thought of confinement has only increased the number of mental health issues not only in Pakistan but worldwide.
However efforts are being made by the government in order to curb the spread of mental illnesses, through methods such as, providing relevant information about mental issues impact and methods of prevention. In addition the government has published a 26 page document providing instructions on how to avoid mental issues, especially during lockdown. NGOs across Pakistan have taken charge of raising mental health awareness as well, with talks being organized to achieve this.
Waleed Qasim Bashir