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Doctors in the dumps: Depression, suicidal thoughts up amid COVID-19 crisis

While 20 per cent displayed moderate symptoms of depression and 2 per cent of them displayed suicidal thoughts three to four times a week, 1 per cent of them feel suicidal every day.

Published: 24th April 2020 06:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th April 2020 02:22 PM   |  A+A-

A doctor conducts a swab test during the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus at CSMT in Mumbai.

For representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

BENGALURU:  Here is a startling finding by a survey: While 15 per cent of the doctors surveyed reported severe symptoms of depression, 6 per cent reported suicidal thoughts one-two times a week, according to an ongoing survey.

The survey is done by the All India Ophthalmological Society (AIOS) among medicos across the country including ophthalmologists, doctors of other fields and trainee doctors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As per an interim analysis of the responses, 16. 2 per cent of the 1,950 responses surveyed so far were seriously worried about their profession, studies or training post lockdown and 37.4 per cent said they have savings to last them two-three months.

And 38 % reported that their training as PG students was considerably impacted, according to the online survey done by Dr Santosh G Honavar and Dr Rohit Khanna.

While 35.5 per cent of those surveyed said that more than 75 per cent of their income was affected, 37 per cent reported difficulty or inability to meet expenses.

A questionnaire was given to judge if they are experiencing depression and suicidal tendencies with questions like “little interest or pleasure in doing things, feeling down, depressed or hopeless, trouble falling or staying asleep and feeling tired or having little energy,” with four response options — not at all, several days, more than half the days, nearly every day.

“We were shocked by the results showing depression and suicidal tendencies and have extended counselling support immediately to those who are showing such symptoms. While 20 per cent displayed moderate symptoms of depression and 2 per cent of them displayed suicidal thoughts three to four times a week, 1 per cent of them feel suicidal every day. Interns who undergo training in the hospitals right now are not learning anything. While the government sector can afford to pay doctors, the private sector is severely impacted. We began analysing the responses 5-6 days into the survey which started on April 6,” said Dr Rajashekar, medical director, Shekar Eye Hospital and president of Karnataka Ophthalmic Society.

“Some doctors are the only earning members in families, have to support dependants and may have to pay off loans. We plan to publish the completed survey results in the Indian Journal of Ophthalmology,” said Dr Rajashekar who is also the managing committee member of AIOS.


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