The State government recently appointed an IAS officer as the nodal officer for mental health and post-Covid stress management. Talking to The Pioneer following this development, experts have stressed on the need for proper counselling and therapy for those affected by Covid-19.
Neuropsychologist and counsellor Dr Sona Kaushal Gupta said, “Being in isolation for so many days patients can experience anxiety or stress symptoms and these patients might get post-traumatic stress disorder too. The recovered patients have become more restricted in their lifestyle. They are more cautious now and they cannot feel as free as before because of the fear they hold of getting re-infected.”
She suggests, “Knowledge should be taken from an authorised source and the only way to prevent the virus is by properly following all the Covid guidelines. Be busy with your daily chores with precautions rather than just thinking about the consequences of the virus. Minimise the problem instead of maximising it in your head. We have been through many viral infections and we have come out of those so this too shall pass. Just remember to be positive and spread positivity.”
Clinical psychologist Dr Mukul Sharma said, “Fear has been seen in Covid patients due to the higher risk of infection and their concern about insufficient supplies. Some Covid recovered patients had near-death experience, they were admitted to ICU and were in critical condition. Due to such experiences patients can develop depression and anxiety.”
He adds, “There should be consistent counselling of recovered patients for a month so that they can return to their normal life. Seventy per cent of Covid patients are unnecessarily panicking because of all the bad things happening around them due to which there is chronic stress instead of which they should handle themselves smartly and should take care of their mental health. They should stop irrelevant thoughts which can be the cause of the fear."
Psychoanalyst Aditi Arora said, “During the critical period, you are full of fear because you don’t know how this virus will affect your body because it’s different with everyone. For that, counselling and therapy should be done according to individual cases. The post Covid situation is a whole different scenario because for someone who has come out of ventilator, it’s like getting a second life so they will need different types of counselling. We can’t put mild and critical cases together; they will need different counselling because both of them had different experiences. A lot of existential or spiritual therapy should be used now because when you are on the ventilator or in a serious condition a lot of existential questions come to your mind and for such situations people need specialised therapy.”
She suggests that along with Covid patients counsellors should also talk to patient’s family members as they are also suffering from that trauma. The counselling should be well organised and it should not just be on the paper- it really needs to be done, added Arora.