NEW DELHI: The second Covid-19 wave has caused more cases of anxiety and depression compared to the first, reveals a new study. Dr Sameer Malhotra, Director and Head of Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, said that as per a study conducted last year on a sample size of 1,069 individuals from the general population during the first wave, 55 per cent had significant anxiety symptoms and over one-fourth experienced depressive symptoms.
“Nearly 27 per cent participants said they considered self-harm or suicide at least once, while three per cent indicated they had recurring thoughts. During lockdown, we received distress calls from patients and their families about anxiety, depression, and self-harm,” said Dr Malhotra.
Dr Manish Kandpal, psychiatrist at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, said suicidal thoughts were mostly spotted in young and middle-aged people facing adjustment issues; many of them resorted to alcoholism.
“Due to economic hardships, fear and long isolation, people developed depression which led to suicidal thoughts. There are mainly two categories of people approaching us. In one category, their mental health conditions had improved but they could not continue or had missed their (treatment) courses. The other category was mentally healthy, but had faced difficulties during pandemic,” noted Dr Kandpal.
A recent study on India’s lockdown by the ‘International Journal of Mental Health Systems’ saw a 67.7% increase in online news media reports of suicidal behaviour. Compared to 2019, the suicides reported in the lockdown were by people between ages 31 to 50.
There were notable differences between the two years in the methods used for suicides and attempted suicide. In the lockdown, more suicides were reported by hanging (64.4 per cent vs 42 per cent) and fewer cases of poisoning (8.5 per cent vs 21.5 per cent).
(If you are having suicidal thoughts, or are worried about a friend or need emotional support, someone is always there to listen. Call Sneha Foundation - 04424640050 (available 24x7) or iCall, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences' helpline - 02225521111, which is available Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm.)