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Pandemic’s mental health risks

 

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THE COVID-19 pandemic poses risks to the mental health of a person, particularly the almost never-ending wor­ries that everyone encounters during the lockdown: Fear for safety, the lack of money, food, and other necessities of modern-day life.

Everyone goes through the anger and frustration due to the uncertainty that the future holds.

Only one person in every household is issued a quarantine pass and allowed to go out to buy the family’s needs.

But what if there is no money to buy those needs? That’s the time when someone’s mind could snap.

Think about the health care workers and their families who go through the agony of being treated like COVID-19 carriers, social pariahs who are driven away from their homes by neighbors who are supposed to be the first people to under­stand what medical frontliners do for them. That is certainly enough reason to go gaga.

And what of the families of those that die of the disease who also test positive for the virus? Will they not also suffer like their departed kin? They will most likely experience the same stigma; their houses even pelted with rocks to drive them away from the neighbor­hood.

Some of us have already been suffering from depression or some sort of mental illness even before this pandemic wrought world havoc. Being isolated from other people can add a lot to this misery.

And what of the economic and occupational challenges that

one has to face if he lost his job or was forced to stop working due to the quaran­tine? The emotional and men­tal burden of being unable to provide for one’s self and family can prove too stressful for these people.

Somehow, local and national government provide relief through cash assistance and distribution of food packs.

It’s a pity that, in these trying times, some officials even have the gall to steal the government cash assistance and practically grabbing food from the mouths of hapless people, the likes of the jobless, disabled, senior citizens, single parents, and street vendors.

This is the time for the government to take action and make sure that the people are getting the help promised them by the government. They should also ensure that the officials, especially from the barangays, are serving their constituents faithfully.

And while doctors test peo­ple for COVID-19 infection, they might as well check the patient’s mental health con­dition and, when necessary, advise them to seek treatment and where to get it.

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SHORT BURSTS. For com­ments or reactions, email firingline@ymail.com or tweet @Side_View. Read current and past issues of this column at Tempo – The Nation’s Fastest Growing Newspaper.

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