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Impact of COVID19 on Mental Health

The COVID19 outbreak has unleashed havoc in our lives. With restricted movement in our attempt to reduce the number of people infected with the virus, we have been forced to make major changes in our daily routine and lifestyle.

We’re trying to adapt to the new realities of working from home, unemployment, and home-schooling of children, with a lack of physical contact with family, friends, and colleagues. These new realities are also exposing us to the fear of contracting the virus, especially to many of us who are particularly vulnerable mentally. This has resulted in a surge in mental health issues like stress, depression, anxiety, and frustration. The most common reactions to the mass quarantine were a spread of generalized fear and community anxiety which are typically associated with outbreaks of diseases. To add to it the increased number of new cases coupled with inadequate and anxiety-provoking information that the media has been churning out has further escalated the mental health concerns amongst the society.

From panic to collective hysteria, along with continuous feelings of hopelessness and desperation leading to suicidal tendencies—a range of psychological reactions have emerged as a result of the pandemic. The most negative outcome of these reactions could be compromised health measures due to abnormally high anxieties.

When you are fighting a mental health disorder it is extremely important to set boundaries both in your personal and your professional life. These boundaries help your mind to take a break from anything that triggers stress or other mental health issues. It also helps you give more time to yourself so that you can focus on the betterment of your overall wellbeing which includes mental as well as physical health.

In these trying times, it is natural to feel vulnerable, anxious, and disoriented when the mind is trying to get a grip on the uncertainty of the situation. In such times stimulating and therapeutic activities like art can come in and offer the relief and therapy that one can benefit from. According to scientist Richard Feynman, ‘One of the most valuable things that science can teach us is to value doubt and uncertainty, as it is full of possibilities and nearly always precedes new knowledge.’ While art, on the other hand, can teach us what maths and science cannot. It can teach us that there is more than one answer to our problems and that small changes can bring in large effects. Through art, we can communicate things that we might probably be unable to express in words.

The impact of this damaging pandemic is clearly going to last for many years to come. A lot of may feel fragile and disoriented and might need reassurance and comfort in these uncertain times. Therefore to cope with the current changes there is an urgent need for creativity, imaginativeness, and innovation. The practice of art therapy offers - combining creativity (art-making) with the conversation(counselling). 

The pandemic will help us realize the importance of a healthy mind. Do not hesitate to reach out for help when you need it, more so when it pertains to mental health. While the sanitizers, disinfectants, and masks may keep the infection at bay, but it’s our calm mind that will fight the feeling of uncertainty and anxiety.

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