It is evident that second wave is more dangerous than first wave of corona virus. Many of us lost our loved one and the death rate in a single day is the third highest after USA and Brazil, in India. Second wave hit the country very badly, now the question comes how this wave effect on mental health. In the previous lockdown the death rates were not so high but the people suffering from mental health as they didn’t have any idea about the lockdown but in this second wave people known about the lockdown but didn’t aware that worst days are coming they were not prepared for this mental trauma.
During the last two months, the most effecting disease which hit the country was fever, cough and cold, though it was said that these are the symptoms of corona. Almost in every house people suffered from these diseases which create fear, weakness and anxiety in the mind of the people and hoping when the situation gets normal as the death rate was so high. These scenarios put pressure in the mind of the people whether they won’t suffer badly from the situation and lose their life. In such a situation no one mentally stable.
Mental illnesses include psychotic disorder, anxiety, mood swings, substance use disorder, eating disorders and personality disorders. Majority of suicides happened in the world due to mental disorders and if we look into the 2016 statistics, globally, the suicide rate was 10.6 per 1 Lakh population whereas in India it was 16.3 per 1 Lakh population.
Effect on Children
In this wave, children are affected in different way, many complaints have been registered in the month of May, rise in illegal adoption of COVID orphans by private individuals and organizations, informed by National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
According to NCPCR data 3,621 children were orphaned, 26176 children lost their either parent and 274 children were abandoned between April 1 to June 5, 2021. It is very disappointing to say that unfortunately they lost their parent and now they will be abusive by their relatives or the adopted members. NCPCR urge SC to intervene in this matter on 7th June, 2021. The Supreme Court has directed the States and Union Territories (UTs) to take stringent action against private individuals and NGOs who invite people to illegally adopt children orphaned by the Covid-19 pandemic on 8th June, 2021.
Government Policies on mental health
In India we have National Mental Health Policy introduced in 2017 apart from it we have Mental Health Care Act, 2017. Apart from policies, National Health Mission, National Adolescent Health Programme and Ayushman Bharat played an important role in eradication of mental health issues but more attention required in this pandemic situation where every third person suffering from mental illness, it will be good if such above programmes are urgently required.
Mental health may not be the primary concern for developing countries like India as there are more communicable and non-communicable disease are more concerned. There are many more challenges for better implementation of mental health programmes are lack of funding, mental health packages, lack of trained staff etc. However, these challenges need to be considering more rapidly in the wake of Covid-19, especially in this second wave of corona where people are mentally suppressed due to lockdown.
Contribution of Government on Mental health care
Government of India expends 1.3% of total government expenditure on hospitals dealing with mental health issues. According to World Health Organization, In India, the share of mental hospitals per 1 lakh population is as low 0.01 in line with developing countries. The reason of this small contribution may be lack of attention on mental health as compared to other major diseases prevalent in India.
India was globally ranked 114 with just 0.03 units per 1 Lakh population in the distribution of mental health units in general hospitals. Again, India ranged 99th position in the distribution of outpatient facilities with 0.08 units per 1 Lakh population. India was on 64th position in the distribution of mental health treatment facilities.
Though the effect of second wave of corona virus was very negative but in this tough if we are alive it’s all by God grace and we should thankful to the God and pray for our better future. Many people have lost their loved one and suffered a lot. Supreme Court of India issued several orders to the government to provide compensation to the families who lost their bread earner.
Further, in order to address mental health issues, India could reduce the treatment gap for mental disorders, increase the number of personnel in the mental health sector, work towards reducing discriminatory attitudes, and devise an integrated approach for detecting, treating, treating, and managing patient needs. Communities and families have an important role in this regard and so do community-based programmes. School based programmes on mental health can improve mental health of children.
There needs to be a road map for mental health awareness. This should include the traditional media, government programmes, the educational system, industry and social media.