Frontline healthcare workers are fighting the coronavirus pandemic since the first reported case in January 2020. In a new initiative, Pune-based psychologist Dr. Radhika Bapat and US-based Dr. Uma Chandrika Millner launched the Indian Network of the Diaspora for Essential Aid and Relief (INDEAR) in association with the Asian American Psychological Association to offer free mental health support to Indian frontline workers.
To take part in this initiative, more than 400 mental health professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers from many different countries have volunteered.
Sessions by the health practitioners will be available in Bengali, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Marwari, Odia, Punjabi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu. Pandemic is the greatest health crisis humanity has seen in recent decades.
Pandemic is impacting both the physical and mental health of frontline workers. Doctors, psychotherapists, nurses, hospital staff, and crematorium staff are working endless hours and shifts without holidays during this crisis.
Mental health cases
The bust of the second wave in the country left patients in chaos, hospitals running out of beds, and a shortage of medicines and oxygen. The wave was not limited to physical suffering but the pandemic has also lead to an increase in mental health related cases in many states across the country.
Doctors said that in this wave, many young people have lost their lives and almost everyone has lost someone close to the pandemic. Many were not able to say goodbye to their loved ones and this led to an increase in disorders like insomnia, panic attacks, and depression.
“More patients are coming to us for grief counseling nowadays. As many are unable to say a proper goodbye to their dear ones due to COVID, the absence of a proper final closure is leading to guilt, restlessness among many. We are witnessing that intense grief spiraling into serious mental health conditions,” said Dr. Poorna Chandrika, Director of Institute of Mental Health.