Thursday, 16 September, 2021

Mental Stress Increasing during Covid-19

Hiren Pandit

More than one hundred ninety million people have been infected with coronavirus worldwide for almost a year and a half, one hundred fifty million people have recovered and 4 million people have died across the world. About 1.2 million people have been infected in Bangladesh to date. The number of deaths is more than 20 thousand in Bangladesh. Covid-19 is a viral disease but the extent of the disease exceeds the dangers of physical health and is devastating us mentally, socially, and economically.

As a result, there is no immediate possibility of resolving this crisis. It is difficult to find the answer to this difficult question of what will happen in this reality. 36 per cent of people have been lost their job due to corona. Although three percent of the people have jobs, they do not receive salaries and allowances. Most of them are middle class. So, what is the way to overcome the crisis? During this crisis of corona infection, the government has taken development activities and people-friendly measures for the overall protection and livelihood of people of different professions. All these measures are contributing at least to some extent to keep the wheel of the stagnant economy running.

Due to the pandemic, the social picture of present-day Bangladesh has changed a lot. The normal wheel of the economy is not able to turn at its own pace due to corona. Stagnation is becoming stronger instead of mobility. Countless people have become unemployed. The watch of uncertainty is getting longer and longer. Disoriented, many people have been forced to move to villages and are still doing so. Is there peace; is there a guarantee of living? What are the employment opportunities? There are no good answers to these questions.

The livelihoods of professionals are now largely uncertain. Salary allowance in a private office is irregular. Even if they work, their salaries and allowances do not match. Garment workers are facing the same crisis as ever. Many factories have already closed or are about to close. Migrant workers are constantly losing their jobs and becoming unemployed. There is no light of hope anywhere. Job change competition is now a regular topic. What are the benefits of losing a job to a small business? Life is going through a difficult time now. According to the news published in various studies, the number of people employed in different sectors was 68.2 million. Coronavirus has left 36.4 million people jobless. It is easy to see how dangerous the situation is. As of now, the number of unemployed people is 2.6 million as per Bangladesh Bank study. This crisis is not only in Bangladesh but in the whole world. According to the latest report of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the crisis will be exacerbated. The ILO says corona could cause 340 million people worldwide to lose their jobs. Our beloved Bangladesh is also on the list of troubled countries.

Both teachers and students are in danger as educational institutions have been closed for a long time due to the Corona crisis. Most of the MPO registered educational institutions are provided by the government, but many teachers and employees do not get government benefits. But private educational institutions have more problems. They cannot pay teachers and staff unless they take salaries from students. Again, there are questions about the rationale of collecting fees from the students as the educational institutions are closed. So, teachers and staff are in danger.

 Every person in Bangladesh is in the midst of stress during the Corona period. Of these, about 34.9 per cent of youth and young women are under various types of mental stress. Suffering from such mental instability, 70.8% of the people are physically harming themselves. There is also a tendency to commit suicide as a result of various mental stresses. This is according to a survey conducted by the Aanchal Foundation, a service provider working on the mental health of the youth. The high number of suicides during the Corona period has caused concern. Many are working to identify the causes of various mental health problems, the causes of suicide, and to find solutions. From March 2020 to February 2021, there were a total of 14,438 suicides in the country. According to 322 suicide case studies, 49 per cent of those who committed suicide were between the ages of 20 and 35. And 57 per cent of them are women.

According to the data available, most young people suffer from depression. Being upset most of the time, they are losing interest in the job of choice, accompanied by abnormally more or less sleep, loss of focus at work, negative thoughts about oneself and suffering from indecision in everything. Research has shown that when these problems become severe, the tendency to commit suicide increases. The main reason is for not being able to talk openly with anyone about their mental instability. If you are upset or depressed, share it with friends, family, and through various social media. Most spend more time daily than usual through social media which is making them emotionally upset. Many people spend more than 8 hours a day on social media. They also mentioned that their mental health interferes with their daily activities. Of these, 91.4 per cent have never consulted a psychiatrist.

Stress problems that young people face during coronation are: loss of focus on studies and work, irritable mood, feeling lonely, marriage pressure from family despite unwillingness, financial problems, excessive thinking, mobile addiction, behavioural problems, lack of jobs, lack of job opportunities, session jams, uncertain future and death of family members are increasing the stress of young people.

Multiple studies show that one in five people infected with corona develops coronary heart disease, depression, anxiety, psychosis, and so on. Experts say that the rate of stress, anxiety, depression, and panic among people who are not affected by corona and health workers is many times higher than usual. Even if you recover from corona, there is still a risk of mental problems.

Mental problems have also increased in Bangladesh during the Covid-19 period than usual. Mental distress is exacerbated by fears of corona infection, uncertainty about access to medical care, fear of death, economic turmoil, and loss of employment, unemployment, and even misconceptions about corona. And there is stress among health workers at all levels engaged in corona treatment that is harming their mental health. Even in Corona, domestic violence and gender-based violence have increased worldwide.

Infected deaths, panic attacks if infected, fear of family members’ infection, loneliness while in isolation increase stress, fear of death of family members, frightening news in media, sleep problems, insomnia and frequent insomnia.

However, it is important to remember that in this critical moment, it is normal to be panicked, stressed, or frustrated. The whole world is facing an unusual situation. But if he is panicked but his immunity is reduced, the risk of infection will increase; panic and stress in the person affected by the corona will make his corona more complicated. So, everyone needs to improve their skills in dealing with stress.

The way out of this situation can be to spend quality time with family, to live an orderly life, not to stop routine things like sleep, eating at the right time, light exercise at home, etc. Eating a balanced and safe diet, drinking enough water, sleeping on time, doing light exercise, participating in household chores together, and avoiding any intoxicants.

At this time everyone should be involved in various social activities. In this case, it is very important for the organizations working for the upliftment of society to come forward. Everyone should try to keep busy. At present, there are many types of income sources online from home, these platforms can be activated by utilizing the talents of all working people including the youth in this lazy time of closing educational institutions. We have to work together to deal with this situation together. Besides, various initiatives of the government have to be implemented.


The writer is a Research Fellow, Bangladesh

NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC)