Coronavirus lockdown: How social distancing is impacting mental health?

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Coronavirus update: 21-day complete isolation can impact mental health! With the recent announcement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of practising social distancing and being home-quarantined for 21 days is likely to affect the mental health of people. In a country like India, where the population is estimated to be around 1.3 billion, health experts believe that there will be a spike in the number of cases for anxiety and depression, the Indian Express reported. Therefore, discussing the mental health of many becomes imperative.

Talking about mental health

In order to understand why talking about mental health is necessary at this point, one needs to understand that there are many people whose movements are restricted. Some have been locked away from their families while some do not even have the access to food, money or transport, the report said. Infact, thinking about a disease which has a tendency to harm or even kill people in the worst case scenario, can cause distress among people.

Moreover, employment and financial stress is also taking a toll on the minds of a large number of the population. The report citing experts said that if mental and emotional well-being will affect many people, it will become a huge problem.

Physical distancing not social distancing

The report highlighted that when the phrase "social distancing" is used, it is likely to convey a wrong message. According to the report, physical distancing is what we need. It said people need social support, however, they are not supposed to meet other people. "Social togetherness", as the report says, can be practised while maintaining physical distance via online mediums.

What can be done

The government, for its part, has started well with the Prime Minister himself addressing the nation. However, the experts believe that people should be allowed to at least visit the nearby park for basic exercises in a regularised manner. This is expected to relieve some of the anxiety people are facing. People, on the other hand, are advised to stay away from any kind of news/information that does not have a relevant source. The report said these kinds of messages inculcates distress and anxiety among people. Indians should also maintain contact with their families and friends, especially when there are times like these, as experts opined, maintaining relationships becomes a positive act.