Goa: COVID-19 lockdown triggers rise in mental health issues

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Priyanka Sahasrabhojanee said the lockdown has worsened the condition of people who already suffer from psychological ailments.

Published: 10th April 2020 01:03 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th April 2020 01:03 PM   |  A+A-

Student suicide, stress, pressure, depression

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PANAJI: The coronavirus outbreak coupled with the lockdown has triggered an increase in the cases of stress, anxiety and domestic violence in Goa, mental health experts claim.

According to counsellors in the coastal state, the number of SOS calls from victims of domestic violence and those suffering from anxiety have risen considerably during these unprecedented times.

"The concept of a lockdown is alien to us and we are unable to cope with it," counsellor Aditi Tendulkar said.

Anxiety, frustration, panic attacks, loss or sudden increase of appetite, insomnia, depression, mood swings, delusions, fear and suicidal tendencies, have become quite common during the lockdown, she said.

The Psychiatric Society of Goa (PSG) has started a service called Covidav to provide free online psychological evaluation and treatment to citizens during the lockdown.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Priyanka Sahasrabhojanee, who is part of the PSG's initiative, said the lockdown has worsened the condition of people who already suffer from psychological ailments.

"The lockdown is specially challenging for people suffering from substance abuse because of unavailability of alcohol or other substances they are addicted to," she said.

Mental health patients may also find it difficult to access prescription drugs, forcing them to go off medications, thus worsening their condition, she said.

Moreover, higher incidence of domestic violence is also being reported during the lockdown, as people with troubled relationships are forced to be in each other's presence all the time, Sahasrabhojanee said.

Another issue that has caused stress and anxiety is the financial uncertainty during this time.

"The COVID-19 lockdown has also become a financial lockdown, as both salaried individuals and businessmen have suffered losses," said Prakriti Poddar, mental health expert and managing trustee of Poddar Foundation.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be a fallout of this crisis, as many have lost their jobs and they will have to take a lot of effort to get back on their feet, she added.

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