One year of lockdown: Self care and mental health during a pandemic


by Dr Aparna Joshi

“I haven’t been able to meet my wife and my baby since the lockdown. I am stuck, away from them and keep worrying about their safety. Being stuck indoors, while worrying about them, I am feeling a kind of a ‘mental congestion’”(35, Male)

I needed to transfer again residence resulting from lockdown, it’s getting actually difficult for me right here. My father is abusive in direction of my mom and I really feel helpless, that is even impacting my relationship with my boyfriend (28, F)

Narratives like these have been frequent on the iCALL helpline since March 2020 (when the lockdown because of the pandemic began), the place counsellors provide psychosocial counselling companies over technology-assisted mediums to shoppers throughout the nation. The quantity of shoppers reaching out has elevated by 103 per cent in comparison with pre-COVID-19 knowledge, indicating a excessive want to hunt psychosocial companies. The COVID-19 pandemic made its strategy to India in late January 2020. Since the launch of the helpline in March 2020, iCALL catered to fifteen,000+ shoppers by means of its phone, electronic mail and chat-based companies. The counsellors listened to narratives of misery actively in a protected and holding atmosphere and labored with shoppers to develop inside assets and facilitate referrals that helped cope with their considerations.

The outbreak of the pandemic itself and the next containment measures have taken a toll on the mental health of people. The psychosocial influence manifested by means of nervousness, bereavement, insomnia, loneliness, elevated substance use (WHO, 2020) has had additional antagonistic penalties on different life outcomes akin to socio-economic standing, high quality of life and vulnerability to diseases, and many others.

On one hand, the pandemic acted as an equaliser affecting most of the people throughout completely different strata of the society; however on the opposite, it additionally served to accentuate the present social rifts by adversely affecting those that belong to weak and marginalised teams akin to migrants, aged, people with disabilities, ladies survivors of violence, folks with mental sickness, LGBTQ people and many others. Studies have proven that during the lockdown, ladies, regardless of their employment standing, bore the burden of home tasks greater than males (Chauhan, 2020). It can also be a undeniable fact that there was an exponential enhance in cases of home violence during this era. (Das et al., 2020).

Needless to say, the complicated set of stressors skilled by people, significantly the aged, ladies and kids, of their private, interpersonal, skilled and communal lives and the resultant misery, requires an equally multi-faceted psychosocial response. At a macro degree, this is able to contain preventive and interventive health measures, financial reforms, era of livelihood choices, steps to mitigate stigma, resumption of transportation and on a regular basis life actions and many others. But at a micro-level, people additionally want help and nurturance as they proceed to battle with uncertainties, worries, conflicts, losses and isolation of their private and interpersonal lives.

The outbreak of the pandemic itself and the next containment measures have taken a toll on the mental health of people. (Photo: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Responding to misery: Tips, assets and tasks

Remember: It isn’t `regular’ but. As we proceed to face indefinite time frames for normalcy to be restored, we should take steps in direction of self-care very like the steps we take to cease the unfold of the virus. The first step on this route is to decelerate, bear in mind of our personal feelings, and acknowledge the influence of this irregular state of affairs on our lives. Some responses could also be wholesome and some unhealthy. It is essential to determine/acknowledge one’s unhealthy coping methods akin to extreme publicity to digital units, use of substances. Therefore, some wholesome methods to interact in self-care might embrace easy steps akin to making certain consumption of wholesome meals, good sleep (7-8 hours), some type of bodily train or motion, studying books, listening to music, making certain one is ready to consciously restrict one’s time spent on-line and have a wholesome on-line expertise total. In instances of adversity practising gratitude, compassion and mindfulness-based workouts can go a great distance in holding our personal.

Resources: When coping with uncertainty, specializing in what we are able to management and what’s past our management helps. It is essential to attach neighborhood members with related help and assets. Often connecting with a beloved one, and even speaking to a skilled counsellor at a helpline like iCALL (cellphone: 9152987821/ electronic mail: [email protected]/ chat: nULTA app) may also help in instances of despair. As many individuals more and more flip to social media, it’s important for them to search out related help and data on-line as properly. iCALL continues to work with consultants and social media corporations akin to Facebook to develop assets that help in managing emotional and social health. Some of these assets embrace Emotional Health, a centralised useful resource hub on Facebook, Chatbots, and well-being guides on Facebook, and Instagram.

Responsibilities: As we proceed to adapt to a new definition of ‘normal’, let’s be attuned to the emotional wants of our personal selves and others round us as it is going to go a great distance in shaping the mental, social and bodily well-being of our society.


Chauhan, P. Gendering COVID-19: Impact of the Pandemic on Women’s Burden of Unpaid Work in India. Gend. Issues (2020).
Das M, Das A, Mandal A. Examining the influence of lockdown (resulting from COVID-19) on Domestic Violence (DV): An proof from India. Asian J Psychiatr. 2020;54:102335. doi:10.1016/j.ajp.2020.102335

(The writer is challenge director, iCALL; assistant professor, TISS & Tanuja Babre Programme Coordinator; on behalf of iCALL Helpline, TISS)


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