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Mental Illnesses and The Double Pandemics of COVID 19 and Global Economic Meltdown: A Case for Guards Up and Chin Down!!!
The world population has experienced so much uncertainity over the past 100 years and none matches the current COVID pandemic in unpredictability. The effects of World War 1 were hard on humanity but the fact that war had ended provided a sense of closure to most. However the emergence of the improperly named Spanish Flue at the end of that war must have further taxed people’s coping resources and shattered any hope for normalcy, until public health authorities gained control over that pandemic. The great depression and the start of World War 2 surely led to existential anxieties to most who endured such traumatic events. Indeed the relative peace and prosperity that followed must have soothed the deep wounds of prior losses, at all levels, more so at a psychological level. Until 2020 came and gave everyone a smack in the face.
COVID 19 has changed our lives forever. Never before so many people in the world got terrorised by an invisible enemy, to an extent that social relations got affected, livelihoods got destroyed, and everyone got locked up at home. Humans are social beings, and holding hands and sharing our personal spaces are part of who we are. To be told to social distance, another misnormer, and for grandparents to be distanced from their grandchildren, can only be negative to the mental wellbeing of both the young and the elderly. Visuals of lone family members buring their loved ones after being denied the opportunity to kiss them good bye will scar us for a long time. Indeed the news coming from the frontlines in this fight are distressful:
- Neurological symptoms that could be long term post the pandemic are widely reported
- Increased divorce rates as families have no external outlets
- Increased domestic violence
- Suicide increases, notably among frontline health workers
- An increase in a number of mental disorders, notably anxiety and mood disorders, was to be anticipated under the circumstances. However evidence suggest a greater prevalence with more severerity of symptoms than anything anticipated before. Health care practitioners and children are possibly the hardest hit groups among those who are affected but never got infected by COVID 19.
All these mental health problems are made worse by the devastation of already weak economies like ours. If there was a time we needed Mental Health First Aid training, to help us cope with so much uncertainity, and help others, it is now. We need every hand on deck to help defend our mental wellness, as without positive mental health, we are facing a slipery slope of despair, hopelessness and helplessness. Bring hope back and join millions in the world, who are members of Mental Health First Aid International, by booking your online program right away!
Dr. Malik Vazi, CEO.