The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide while the demand for mental health is increasing, according to a new WHO survey. The COVID-19 pandemic has made the people excruciate in many ways. Depression, anxiety, miseries, confusion, hopelessness, etc., are some of the most experienced feelings nowadays.
Many people lost their loved ones, while many people lost their jobs. Everyone is affected by the pernicious virus in some way or the other. As the world is under the influence of a deadly bio-war now, nobody saw this disastrous pandemic coming. Everyone is asking just one question- When can we resume our regular lives again? But nobody knows the answer to this question. Despaired in melancholy, with no clear sign of the end of the pandemic, people are undoubtedly suffering to a great extent.
While it is a privilege for many to stay in the vicinity of their loved ones at home, spending gleeful time with them, some people are endangered even at their homes. Domestic violence, harassment, and manipulating people mentally are some of the most reported cases in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students are living a monotonous life attending online classes daily and not able to learn much since online classes are not as beneficial as face-to-face learning methods. Similarly, there is not only a mental but also a physical strain exposed to these students as they spend hours in front of screens.
Mental wellbeing deteriorating irrespective of age
If we want to know about the mental well-being of the people of any country, then it is mainly influenced by three parameters- social, economic, and human capital. Strong cognitive skills, holistic health, and advanced productivity require good mental health investment. Ergo, the availability of resources such as economic growth and development.
That is to say, India is still a low-income country, and mental health care here has been second-class citizens – especially during the epidemic. The ongoing crisis and the economic downturn have had a devastating effect on the mental health of several people. Therefore, India is not prepared to deal with the mental health crisis caused by the epidemic. Here a very concerning question arises- If the people continue to be mentally distressed like this for a long-time, then how will India’s economy perform in the future?
The pandemic has increased the mental disorders in people by huge folds. In 2019, merely 11% of USA residents showed anxiety and depression-related disorders. The figures increased massively in 2020 when the pandemic arrived and 32% of adults experienced anxiety and depression-related issues.
But in January 2021, the number of people excruciating with mental disorders increased even more, by almost 41%. COVID-19 pandemic has forced people to isolate themselves, to stay away from their loved ones, interactions have become zero, unemployment is on a rise, financial desolation has contributed to lower cognitive wellness. The youth is severely affected mentally, more than adults. Nearly 56% of the young adults have reported mental issues like anxiety, depression, stress while 29.3% of the people above the age of 65 have reported the same.
Indians showed an increase in mental disorders as well
India is ranked 139th out of 149 countries in the list of the latest happiness. In various reports, people across the country have expressed concern and fear of losing their loved ones to COVID-19. Horrific images of floating corpses in the Ganga, helpless health care workers, and the failure of many ministers to accept the magnitude of the crisis, especially in May, could all diminish people’s lives, especially – as U.S. data suggests – younger adults. Currently, more than 65% of those aged 18-24 years in India suffer from depression. The International Labor Organization (ILO) has already stated that if we do not take timely action to prevent mental health problems, young people in India may suffer serious and long-term consequences that will affect their productivity, as well as the country’s economy.
These effects shape to form two types of possibilities: exhaustion of people mentally, and insufficient demographic use. India’s political scenario, where politicians continuously harass the public for their benefit, poverty, unbalanced distribution of resources, unseriousness regarding mental health issues, very few employment opportunities, etc. are causing the citizens to suffer from mental issues more than any other country. Poverty and unemployment have forced many people to starve, left them despaired in the sea of hopelessness. These factors together constitute poor economic productivity and performance. This insubordinate cycle of economic disparity and the miserable lives of the people is running the cycle of India’s mental health crisis.
The recession has cost India 41 lakh jobs, while on the other hand, the unemployed are at risk of finding employment. Many are afraid of losing their jobs, and competition is often fierce, creating a barren environment for employers not to raise wages in search of more work. There are already widespread reports that workers are expected to work even if one or two family members are ill with COVID-19 – and they do, usually traditionally known as ‘hustling‘. One explanation for this is the lack of thinking: to compensate for the insecurity of earning too little, some are serving their job. Opportunity firms also offer free courses.
Gender wised effects
The pandemic has affected men and women differently. As the social, economic, and political aspects of men and women are categorized differently, they have been affected differently. As people are stuck in their homes due to various lockdowns and other restrictions, dyadic relationship problems like domestic violence, emotional, sexual, physical distress have significantly risen.
More than 70% of females working as Healthline workers have reported mental stress due to extra work hours. One of the most significant reasons contributing to such a high number of women facing mental disorders is the unpaid household. In West Bengal, merely 26 out of 160 people who came to collect rations and medicines were men. Employed women have to bear double workloads- both at home and in their workplace.
In addition, more than half of all women experience financial loss during the epidemic, compared to a third of men. As a result of the stress caused by the workplace epidemic, fatigue rates among women have increased from 34% in 2019 to 75% by 2020. By 2020, more women (75%) are burned than men (59%). Even before the epidemic, 38% of working women suffered from mental illness that contributed to their retirement. Another 71% of Indians still suffer from mental illness in a discriminatory manner. Before the COVID-19 arrived, one estimate suggested that India would lose $ 1.03 trillion between 2012 and 2030 due to poor mental health; The epidemic may have increased this cost.