THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In a novel initiative, Kerala will set up a network of those who have recovered from Covid-19. This is to address the mental health woes among those awaiting test results and those who test positive for Covid-19 in view of the rising instances of suicide and mental breakdown among those. The proposal presented by health principal secretary Rajan Khobragade had got the chief minister’s approval.
“As per the proposal, the network will come up in each district. It will be led by a health worker who has got infected and recovered. By using these networks, counselling could be provided to those who are undergoing quarantine, awaiting test results and confirmed patients,” said a source. The principal secretary presented the proposal at the Covid-19 assessment meeting on Monday and it readily accepted by the chief secretary, Covid-19 expert committee chairman B Ekbal and later by the chief minister himself.
It is learnt that Ekbal also stressed the need for providing ‘immunity certificates’ to those who become a part of the network. It is presumed that such a certificate will provide authenticity and trustworthiness among the targeted group. The CM insisted on roping in those who had the ability to counsel and convince the targeted group as part of the network.
However, it is being pointed out that creating self-help groups or support groups is part of chronic illness management and, in this case, a unique form of support based on mutual understanding and experiential knowledge of members will be on offer. Dr Krishnan S, department of psychiatry at Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College, said, “For chronic diseases like haemophilia, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and alcoholism, there is a self-help group and a support group.
In the case of Covid-19, the plan might be to create a support group. “People tend to listen to those who had undergone similar circumstances than doctors or counsellors. By using such groups, issues likes anxiety, depression and other mental health issues could be addressed.”