The Big Mental Health Reboot
Cosmopolitan India|November 2020
2020 has been quite the year, and times of crisis can take their toll on our minds. Whether you’ve seriously struggled or you’re just feeling out of whack, we’re here to help.
Jennifer Savin

Let’s say it together: 2020 has been hard. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused levels of heartache we could never have imagined, with many people getting sick, losing loved ones, and facing job insecurity. And even if you were spared the worst of it, being separated from friends, partners, and family hasn’t exactly been easy.

In fact, the pandemic has taken such a toll that experts are now warning about an impending psychological ‘tsunami’. They’re attributing it to an increase in mental health problems, coupled with the universal struggle to accommodate the surge in demand for mental health services, and our attempts to ‘power through’ or put on a brave face ‘because others have it worse’.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has uprooted our lives and messed around with our sanity,” says Samantha Carbon, a UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) psychotherapist. “This battle is yet to be won. We need to take it slow, steady, and one day at a time.” If you’ve been feeling lonely or low, you might find some of the following advice helpful. But if you suspect your mental health issues are more serious, contact your GP or Google for reliable helplines you can connect with experts on.

LONELINESS

Understand it

This one is a biggie. According to an analysis by the Office for National Statistics, more than 50 percent of the people in the age-group of 16-24 felt lonely during the coronavirus-induced lockdown in India. “If left untreated, loneliness can cause major mental stress, creating a sense of worthlessness, depression, or even suicidal thinking,” says another UKCP psychotherapist, Yuko Nippoda. [According to the data compiled by a group of researchers, more than 300 “non-coronavirus deaths” were reported in India between March 19 to May 2, and suicide due to distress triggered by the lockdown was the leading cause of these deaths.] “It isn’t just about being alone—people can feel lonely while they are with others, too, particularly when they don’t feel good about themselves,” says Yuko.

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