The Coronavirus disease [COVID-19] is an illness which is caused by the coronavirus. It is rapidly sweeping across nations and impacting various aspects of our life. The outburst of this virus has induced feelings of panic, anxiety, fear and stress in many individuals. The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19, a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. Since then, people all over the world have been experiencing a drastic change in their day to day routines. They are confined to their respective homes, as a result of which many people are battling various mental health issues such as depression, feelings of loneliness and frustration. During these unsettling and uncertain times, the frontline healthcare workers in our society have been working tirelessly to take good care of the people affected by the virus.
PSYCHOLOGICAL IMPACT OF COVID-19:
The Coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a mental health crisis. People from all over the world are finding ways to cope with the current situation. Most people are dealing with the fear of contracting the virus as well as the fear of infecting others. Along with that, as a result of the ongoing economic crisis in the world, many people are also living with the fear of being asked to leave their jobs. Individuals dealing with issues such as boredom, worrying about ensuring financial stability after the lockdown is over, worrying about having an inadequate supply of food and other basic necessities and going through relationship failures are heading towards mental breakdowns.
During these unfortunate times, it is very difficult for all of us to be optimistic. Constant updates about coronavirus, especially those concerning confirmed cases and the number of deaths to date, can be extremely overwhelming. However, we can all educate ourselves about and be grateful for the heroic acts of all the COVID-19 warriors of our world. The Corona warriors are people, who are at the front lines of the COVID-19 outbreak response. These heroes include doctors, nurses, essential services providers, shopkeepers, chemists,
pharmacists, etc. Healthcare workers in particular, are exposed to hazards that put them at risk of infection. Doctors and nurses do not have the luxury of holding themselves up in their homes to protect themselves from the virus. Many of them have voluntarily separated themselves from their families to keep them safe.
MENTAL HEALTH OF THE FRONTLINE WORKERS:
Healthcare professionals have always been susceptible to mental health problems. Making tough choices and putting themselves at risk for the greater good are pretty much a part of their job. Research on mental distress among healthcare workers has shown that healthcare professionals are more likely to suffer from psychological disorders than workers in all other industries. During this pandemic, a large proportion of healthcare professionals are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia, and psychological distress. Doctors across the world are being forced to make extremely difficult decisions. They lack crucial information, face shortage of essential equipment, and have to battle public panic. Public panic takes many forms, from gossip and social rejection to the denial of essential services and physical assaults.
In order to protect their own families, some doctors and nurses have had to stay away from them. They have had to watch people suffer and die. After experiencing such intense trauma, they are likely to experience Post-Traumatic stress disorder after the situation settles down a bit. Post-Traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, is a psychological disorder, that occurs in those people, who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, car accident, mental or physical assault, etc. People with PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended. They may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares. They may feel sadness, fear, anger and may also feel detached or estranged from other people. What we can conclude from this is that, these frontline workers or corona warriors are putting their own lives in danger, to protect us. They are not only suffering now, but can continue to suffer even when this pandemic is over.
WHAT WE CAN DO FOR THESE HEROES:
1. STAY HOME: The most important thing we can do for the healthcare workers, is to stay home and protect ourselves so that we don’t contract the virus. Even if it is extremely imperative for us to go out for some work, we must wear our masks at all times.
2. EXPRESS OUR GRATITUDE: Hospitals don’t need an influx of notes and cards hitting their mail rooms right now, given their attempts to minimise the germs entering their facilities. However, they may still appreciate a virtual expression of thanks — even if it is a public comment or post on social media.
3. KNOW WHEN TO GO TO THE DOCTOR: One of the biggest challenges for health care workers right now is the surge of patients in need of critical care and the availability of staff and space to take care of them. One way to help health care workers is to avoid unnecessary trips to hospitals, freeing up people and space to take care of those with the greatest need. For this, we need to keep ourselves protected, build up our immunity and eat healthy food.
So lets do our part to support and salute these real-life superheroes!