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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 197-199  

COVID-19 and the state of mind: A Vendetta

1 Department of Pyschiatry, ESI Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
2 Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Date of Submission28-Apr-2020
Date of Acceptance07-May-2020
Date of Web Publication3-Jun-2020

Correspondence Address:
Bobby Paul
P-19, Jadavpur University Employees' Housing Co-operative Society Ltd. Panchasayar, Kolkata - 700 094, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_213_20

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How to cite this article:
Bhaumik P, Dasgupta A, Paul B. COVID-19 and the state of mind: A Vendetta. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth 2020;13:197-9

How to cite this URL:
Bhaumik P, Dasgupta A, Paul B. COVID-19 and the state of mind: A Vendetta. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Aug 2];13:197-9. Available from: https://www.mjdrdypv.org/text.asp?2020/13/3/197/285762

  Introduction Top

Today our good earth is being hectored by a microbe, an irrepressible monster whose antipathy for the human race apparently is so profound that it seems to be hell-bent on its mission of apocalypse of the whole world through a pandemic of Covid-19. The attack rate is high, there is community spread, and a large number of lives have been lost. As the Covid-19 pandemic sweeps across the world, it is decimating precious human life, distressing the international economy, and sowing in the seeds of stress, distress, and fear to each and every citizen of this world. The situation is grim and ostensibly even after the pandemic is over there remains a plethora of after effects, one of which is the mental ill health, which if not taken care of in time may emerge as another unmanageable travail of human life.

  Determinants of Mental Ill Health Top

Clearly, four traits of mental disruptions can be identified in this pandemic.[1],[2]

  1. The disease itself: poor understanding of the epidemiology and clinical features, the constant fear of attaining the infection, trepidation of stigma attached to the disease, despair due to the fact that there is no vaccine or treatment, and traumatized with news of disease or death among some dear ones all are significant predictors of depression
  2. The economy issue: The world economy has been brought to its knees. Losing a job is a traumatic event for anyone's life. Similarly, business and many earning avenues are hard hit. All this along with the constant information regarding the worsening of the economic condition of the country gives rise to high scale of depression and disquiet
  3. The societal issue: social isolation and distancing during lockdown create an ambience of sequestration, seclusion, and solitude giving rise to nothing but depression. This is a trigger for mental morbidity, even in a very mentally stable person
  4. Media and social network: people under stress need to be calmed. However, most of all rumor-mongering needs to be nipped in the bud and those responsible for canard spreading must be dealt with strictly. False, manipulated, and fudged news may terminate in untoward unpleasant and unfortunate incidents resulting in stress and distress among the general mass.

  The Problem: Mental Ill Health Top

The scar of mental trauma and distress following the panic and hysteria caused by this disease may continue to exist and persist for quite some. Currently, we are standing on the threshold of creating a generation with varied mental disorders, some of which are mentioned below [Table 1]. This very thought is simply alarming. It must also be kept in mind that those with a history of mental illness are more at risk of falling prey to this invincible pandemic.
Table 1: Cues to common psychological disorders during the COVID 19 Pandemic

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  Remedial Measures Top

Therefore, for a strong, robust mental health, good, appropriate, and fitting behavioral attributes must be imbued in our daily life, some of which are mentioned below.

  1. Positive thinking and positive attitude and positive activities help to cope more easily with the daily affairs of life. It brings optimism in one's life and makes it easier to avoid worry and negative thinking surround yourself with people who emanate positivity, happiness, and optimism. All these affect an individual in a positive way. Do social work and enjoy the satisfaction of giving, serving, and helping; it subdues all mental agony and anxiety. Pursue your hobby; however, busy you are be it reading, stitching, cooking, gardening, or even simple bird watching. The message is very clear to keep yourself busy doing something positive, useful, and fruitful. The “idle mind is the workshop of the devil” may be redefined as “idle mind is the workshop of mental ill-health”
  2. Communicate with friends, neighbors, relatives, and all your loved ones by increasing social connectivity one decreases loneliness. Dr. Hauls Kluge of the WHO, Department of Mental Health noted “With disruptive effects of Covid-19 including social distancing– currently dominating our daily lives, it is important that we check on each other, call and video chat, and are mindful of and sensitive to the unique mental health needs of those we care for. Our anxieties and fears should be acknowledged and not be ignored but better understood and addressed by the individuals, communities, and governments.”[3] Fear saps our vital energies and casts a shadow on our mental sunshine
  3. Physical exercises such as yoga, stretching, and progressive muscular relaxation must be in everyone's daily routine involving all family members. These evoke “happy” hormones such as endorphin, serotonin, dopamine, and also suppresses the stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. All these contribute to a peaceful and stress-free life. Physical activity also prevents and takes care of all the risk factors of the innumerable noncommunicable disease underscoring cardiovascular diseases and cancer
  4. Meditation and Pranayama are said to be the magic wand that has the ability to pacify the mightiest tsunami of stress and anxiety. It soothes down the mind and makes one resilient and spirited to the extent that even the biggest crisis cannot sway an individual
  5. Role of psychiatrist and the psychologist: often along with the above health promotion activities effective drugs and dedicated sincere counseling can go a long way in catering promotive, preventive, curative, and rehabilitative mental health to the general population. The role of all those related to mental health must be underscored with the psychiatrist as the team leader who should be a masterclass, direct, candid, empathetic person, and should come forward to stamp out the fire before there is a conflagration of mental morbidity across all age and sex. Its high time that the psychiatry fraternity, along with health administrators and policymakers comes forward to design, plan, and implement high-quality guidelines for the prevention and management of any psychotic disorder related to this pandemic.

  The Good News Top

We strongly believe that this pandemic offers an opportunity to reset and restore a range of good habits such as washing hands and masking that have till now been cursorily and infrequently practiced by us. Thus, this pandemic entails an efficient propagation and promulgation of some excellent hygienic practices which very hopefully will be inculcated in everyone's day–to-day life resulting in a revolution for a healthy affective and psychomotor behavioral development in the general public. Besides the much dreaded Covid 19, it will eventually result in the containment of other communicable diseases spread by aerosols, fingers, and fomites. There will definitely be a sharp fall in the prevalence of challenging diseases such as tuberculosis, hepatitis, and cholera in the general population at large. This unquestionably is good news and something which the society looks forward to.

  Conclusion Top

We must be convinced that the stress and strain that comes cheek by jowl with this pandemic is inevitable and unavoidable. In fact, the after effects of this tsunami has the potential to affect much more people than the disease itself and while the whole world is trying wholeheartedly to save those who are ill and prevent the disease in those who are not yet infected, it would be a sagacious stride to not to put the problem of mental health under the carpet since both mental and physical health are important for the survival and advancement of any nation.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Kagee A, Saal W, Banjes J. Distress depression and anxiety amongst persons seeking HIV testing. AIDS Care 2017;29:280-4.  Back to cited text no. 1
Xiang YT, Yang Y, Li W, Zang L, Zhang Q, Cheung T, et al. Timely mental health care for 2019 Novel Corona virus. Lancet Psychiatry 2020;7:228-9.  Back to cited text no. 2
Statement-Physical and Mental Health Key to Resilience during COVID-19 Pandemic. World Health Organization. Available from: http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/health-emergencies/coronavirus-covid-19/statements. [Last accessed on 2020 Apr 28].  Back to cited text no. 3


  [Table 1]


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   The Problem: Men...
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