Singapore health infrastructure for COVID-19
Willingness in Singapore population towards COVID-19 vaccine
Mental health of workers in India during COVID19
Hospital acquired infections in India
COVID-19 in India Today
The year 2020 has been recognized as “hard year” for health all around the globe due to the corona virus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The uncertain global environment in terms of health as well as economy paved the way for fear, stress and anxiety in general public. In addition, lock down were implemented in almost all of the countries leading to reduced movement, isolation and social distancing. People from all professions and all age groups including children, adults and elderly members felt lonelier during the pandemic. Unpredictable nature of viral infection and helplessness considering the lack of a definite cure for the disease exacerbated the fear among general public. Mental health problem was widespread, deep and intense up to the extent that the major global health organizations such as Center for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) issued generic guidelines to handle the stress during COVID-19 1,2.
The effect of COVID-19 associated mental stress was reportedly felt acerbated in COVID-19 affected patients, their attending care providers i.e. family members or friends, patients with mental illnesses and the health care workers. The WHO indicated devastating impacts of COVID-19 on mental health of populations in a survey form 130 countries due to lack of availability/access to mental healthcare services. Besides, 89% of these countries claimed to incorporate mental health support as part of COVID-19 response strategies, however, only 17% were reported to allocate funds for this purpose 3.
Although, COVID-19 implicated devastating effects on mental health of workers all around the globe, yet, the low-income and middle-income countries have been observed to face worst outcomes in this regard. These countries were reported with poor mental healthcare services primarily due to lack of education, awareness and resources. In India, a survey conducted across multiple cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai identified that 53% of the participants were strongly impacted by mental stress who were living alone. Moreover, 41% of the participants living with friends or housemates were identified to face these mental stress associated impacts of the pandemic 4. Medical workers were assigned increased working hours during the pandemic in these resource limited countries, adding the pressure on mental health of medical staff. Furthermore, healthcare workers had limited emotional support from their family or friends through physical interaction leading to mental stress and anxiety.
Consequently, healthcare workers have been indicated as the most vulnerable group to be affected with mental health issues during the pandemic. This is because of the dual pressure on healthcare staff, who need to provide caregiving services while taking care of their own safety by preventing themselves with viral exposure. For instance, a study from India assessed causes of stress in health workers providing diagnostic and management services for cancer patients. The study identified that disease care burden, infrastructural and human resource limitation, inconsistent real-time COVID-19 updates, shortage of protective supplies, news of COVID-19 infections in healthcare providers and self-isolation to protect their families from possible virus contraction were some common underlying reasons of mental stress 5. Therefore, it was suggested for general public to avoid unnecessary hospital visits in order to reduce the workload form health workers in order to aid them in reducing the mental stress, anxiety and pressure.
- 1. Center of Disease Control. Available from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html
- 2. World Health Organization. Available from https://www.who.int/teams/mental-health-and-substance-use/covid-19
- 3. World Health Organization. Available from https://www.who.int/news/item/05-10-2020-covid-19-disrupting-mental-health-services-in-most-countries-who-survey
- 4. Statista. Impact on mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown in India as of April 2020. Available form https://www.statista.com/statistics/1170404/india-impact-on-mental-health-covid-19-lockdown-by-companion/
- 5. Datta SS, Mukherjee A, Ghose S, Bhattacharya S, Gyawali B. Addressing the Mental Health Challenges of Cancer Care Workers in LMICs During the Time of the COVID-19 Pandemic. JCO global oncology. 2020;6.