The Covid-19 pandemic has silently and severely affected the mental health of many people irrespective of ages. Proper management of mental health has become very essential. As the Covid-19 surge forced the government to impose lockdown as a measure to curb the transmission chain of the virus, many people have experienced some uninvited mental health issues and the school children and the teenage group suffered the most. To address such issues the Tripura Government has put some well-defined steps in place.
In an interview with Fit Northeast, renowned psychiatrist and Tripura State Programme Officer, National Mental Health Programme, Dr Udayan Majumder has explained, "The people, mostly the school children and teenagers, are unable to go out of home and meet their friends and close ones, as everything - the offices, markets, schools, colleges, private tuitions, amusement parks and other such establishments remained closed following the lockdown. So, naturally, anxiety disorder, depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in every age group increased during this Covid time."
Dr. Majumder said that some of the symptoms among the children and adolescent group to identify their mental health issues are- aggression, oppositional behaviour and Attention Deficit Hyperactivities Disorder.
"While the Government has taken various steps to address such issues, the parents have a major role to play in dealing with depression or anxiety disorder among their children. The first thing that the parents should do is to encourage their children to indoor sports and games since there is no chance for outdoor sports for the time being. They need to spend quality time with their children, avoid watching or reading excessive Covid-related news, maintain a regular routine like eating and sleeping timings and control use of a smart phone," said mental health expert Dr Udayan Majumder.
The common points that caused depression and anxiety among the adults during the Covid-19 pandemic included fear of losing near and dear ones, fear of losing jobs and uncertainty about their future.
Parents have a major role to play in dealing with depression or anxiety disorder among their children. The first thing that the parents should do is to encourage their children to indoor sports and games.
Elaborationg the steps taken by the Tripura Government to provide mental support to the general public Dr Majumder said, "We are focusing more on the National Mental Health Programme under which mental support teams have been deployed in every district. Besides, in collaboration with Indian Psychiatric Society's Tripura state branch, we are providing tele-counselling service"
Talking about the other initiatives of the Government the psychiatrist said, "Tripura has been linked with the NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences) helpline-08046110007. If anybody from Tripura dials the number and seeks support on mental health, the call is soon redirected to state's psychologists so that they can get help easily."
"Tele psychological counselling of Covid-infected patients is one of the important initiatives. Every person, who gets tested positive with the coronavirus, is contacted by a team of psychologists to know if the patient develops any anxiety disorder, depression or psychological problems. Total 13 counsellors are working hard in this arena to provide psychological support to the Covid patients who need it. During Covid 2.0, counselling of around 10,500 patients has already been done," Dr Majumder said.
"When we talk about mental health, a key area of concern, suicidal behaviour remains one of the major issues. To address this particular issue, a Dedicated Suicidal Helpline- 9863100639 is functioning round the clock. Whenever any person makes a call to this helpline and informs about anybody showing the tendency of suicide, the staff engaged here, all psychologists, provide the necessary support to prevent the threat with the arrangement of first aid from the nearest mental support facilities," he added.