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Sunday, Oct 11, 2020 14:45 [IST]

Last Update: Sunday, Oct 11, 2020 09:10 [IST]

Mental Health for All

PROMITAMAJUMDAR
World Mental Health Day is celebrated on October 10 every year and the theme for 2020 is investment in mental health. World Health Organization (WHO) asserts that this year it is observed at a time when our lives have changed drastically because of COVID – 19 epidemic. The last few months were dotted with many challenges –schools and colleges were closed isolating children from their teachers, friends and a desirable schedule;healthcare workers providing services in intimidating situations; daily wage workers thrown into uncertain livelihoods;rise in domestic violence and child marriage cases;economic blow resulting in an incalculable recession and an increased level of mental health crisis.
A recent research revealed that mental health of children and adolescents are being affected due to COVID-19 lockdown where anxiety and depression are the common symptoms. Parenting stress is not far from this discussion as strict discipline, not being responsive to children’s needs and family violence are a common occurrence. Pandemic has also crippled the physical and mental health of elderly population by pushing them further into loneliness and social isolation.
This year saw a sudden halt to everything when WHO declared COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic. These unusual events impacted people’s lives physically, financially but also mentally due to a switch to a more glued sedentary lifestyle. Probably one of the many lessons which this pandemic has taught us is how to take care of our mental health and be a support to those battling mental health problems.
How can you help?Research suggests that support from family and friends are crucial in helping someone who is going through an emotional setback. Offer your time foran open and non judgemental listening. Talk about well-being and healthy lifestyle options such as exercise, proper eating and sleeping habits, recreation. Guide them in seeking professional service if it is affecting their daily life routine. Ofcourse, you cannot force them to talk to you or gethelp, it is not easy for someone struggling to open up initially. Being patient and available for your family, friends, co-workers or neighbours can gradually enable them to uncloak.
Lastly self-care is important as it helps to establish a relationship with yourself first which automatically impacts your relationship with others. Self-care is often misconstrued as selfish however it is far from that. When adequate attention is given to your physical and emotional well-being we are better equipped to help others.World Mental Health Day is an opportunity to understand the realities of mental health, interventions needed at the individual and community level and awareness to not ignore the signs and reach out for assistance.

Promita Majumdar, MSW is a consultant and trainer in the area of domestic violence, child and youth development and mental health. Email: promita.majumdar@gmail.com

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi