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

Panaji, Apr 10 () The coronavirus outbreak coupledwith the lockdown has triggered an increase in the cases ofstress, anxiety and domestic violence in Goa, mental healthexperts claim.

According to counsellors in the coastal state, thenumber of SOS calls from victims of domestic violence andthose suffering from anxiety have risen considerably duringthese unprecedented times.

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

Anxiety, frustration, panic attacks, loss or suddenincrease of appetite, insomnia, depression, mood swings,delusions, fear and suicidal tendencies, have become quitecommon during the lockdown, she said.Advertisement

The Psychiatric Society of Goa (PSG) has started aservice called Covidav to provide free online psychologicalevaluation and treatment to citizens during the lockdown.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Priyanka Sahasrabhojanee,who is part of the PSG's initiative, said the lockdown hasworsened the condition of people who already suffer frompsychological ailments.

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

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

Moreover, higher incidence of domestic violence isalso being reported during the lockdown, as people withtroubled relationships are forced to be in each other'spresence all the time, Sahasrabhojanee said. Another issue that has caused stress and anxiety isthe financial uncertainty during this time.Advertisement

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

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

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