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Psycho-social help needed to tide over COVID-19 pandemic anxiety: Survey

Youngsters in the age group of 18 to 25 indicated a higher level of fear and anxiety as compared to older people.

Published: 15th September 2020 09:57 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th September 2020 09:58 AM   |  A+A-

Anxiety, COVID anxiety, Depression, Stress

For representational purposes

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: A recent study about the pandemic’s impact on mental health claims that around 40 per cent people are suffering from mild to severe depression. Out of this, 18 per cent are tackling moderate to severe depression triggered by the pandemic. 

The survey was conducted on 550 people living in different cities by two researchers Prof Suchitra Pal and Debraj Das, using the self-administered questionnaire method. Prof Pal is an Associate Professor with Xavier University Bhubaneswar (XUB) while Das, a senior corporate executive, is a PhD scholar at the same institution.

The pan-Indian survey highlighted that the pandemic has led to the emergence of a new form of anxiety named ‘coronaphobia.’ The sample survey indicated that about 23 per cent the people have a higher risk perception of Covid-19. But seven per cent suffer from ‘coronaphobia’ or extreme fear of the virus. Around 16 per cent exhibited behavioural anxiety like frequent checking of body temperature to see if infected with the coronavirus. The survey found that 39 per cent feared death from the infection while 85 per cent people are hopeful of being back to normal life. 

The survey indicated that women, as compared to men, are going through a higher level of anxiety. Around 23 per cent of the women indicated behavioural anxiety as compared to 12 per cent in men. Interestingly, 52 per cent women showed signs of depression as compared to 33 per cent men. 

The pandemic has also taken a toll on the mental health of younger people. Youngsters in the age group of 18 to 25 indicated a higher level of fear and anxiety as compared to older people. Fear and risk perception was also marked in the age group of 26 to 40. However, people above 40 years of age were more hopeful of returning to normal life.

Individuals living in the joint family also perceived higher death anxiety (45 per cent as compared to 36 per cent in nuclear families) due to infection with the virus and higher depressions (44 per cent as compared to 38 per cent in nuclear families), Prof Pal said.  

The survey outcome indicated that highly educated people showed a lower risk perception towards the virus, less fear and anxiety, lower depression; and are also very hopeful of getting rid of the pandemic and coming back to lead a normal life soon.

“The long term effect of the pandemic is too early to predict but focussed preventive measures such as targeted psycho-social support, healthy lifestyle to divert attentions causing anxiety, stricter law to enforce preventative measures, better and affordable health kits such as masks (suiting the hot and humid climate of India), sanitisers can probably build confidence in people and help reduce fear, anxiety, and subsequent depression associated with the pandemic,” the survey said.

Findings

  • About 23 per cent people have a higher risk perception of Covid-19
  • Seven per cent suffer from ‘coronaphobia’ or extreme fear of the virus
  • 16 pc exhibited behavioural anxiety like frequent checking of body temperature to see if infected with virus
  • 39 pc feared death from the infection

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