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COVID patients� mental issues major concern for health workers


GUWAHATI, July 30 - In the fight against COVID-19, not only the physical illness, even psychological issues of a patient become a matter of concern for the health workers. In Assam especially, socio-psychological issues and stigma have posed as challenges for most of the COVID-19 patients.

As per data availed from the National Health Mission, Assam till late evening of July 28, around 15 per cent COVID-19 positive patients are suffering from stress-related issues and 14 per cent have psychological issues connected to job loss due to the pandemic.

Moreover, around 12 per cent are victims of mental stress due to financial insecurity, around 10 per cent COVID-19 patients have anxiety, fear and other issues and around five per cent each have depression and sleep disorder. These data came to light through �Monon � Assam Cares�, an initiative of NHM, Assam which aims to provide mental healthcare services to people in quarantine and isolation specifically through psychological counselling in association with 104 medical helpline.

Under the initiative, 220 counsellors including psychiatrists, psychologists and psychiatrist social workers, reached out to altogether 15,902 COVID-19 patients till July 28.

Dr Bornali Das from the Department of Psychiatry, Gauhati Medical College and Hospital and a leading psychologist of the initiative, said, �In different phases of the lockdown, common people have faced different kinds of psychological issues. So initially in collaboration with Assam Police we had started a programme named �Prayash� with six counsellors through which we reached out to the student community and addressed their different issues. Then we held counselling of migrant workers, most of whom were suffering from different psychological issues due to job loss, social isolation and stigma. After the programme we started �Monon� in June.�

Dr Das said they will also carry out an extensive study in coming days on the database availed from the COVID-19 patients of Assam.

�COVID-19 patients are victims of various socio-psychological issues. Many of them have depression, anxiety, stigma, stress and other socio-psychological issues. Mainly, the stigma issue is very serious. So we are thinking of carrying out an anti-stigma campaign across the State through some competition among the common people,� Dr Das added.

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