Many among us are still getting used to the new era of life at work and at home as this worldwide pandemic refuses to release us from its tedious grip. People are making changes in their lifestyles to improve their health, yet many remain affected mentally and emotionally. Unemployment has directly affected the mental health of many as they lost their jobs whilst struggling to make ends meet. According to the Pakistan Economic Survey 2020-21, before Covid-19, the working population was 55.7 million. This figure fell to 35.04 million during the pandemic, indicating that 20.71 million people lost their jobs. Mental health issues are the most neglected ones and are considered a stigma in our societies. The definition of mental health tends to be very nebulous in Pakistan which has a poor track record when it comes to mental health issues.
With an estimated 50 million individuals suffering from mental illnesses, the pandemic has driven up demand for mental health care. Various lockdowns, self-isolation, unemployment, and fear have further triggered or worsen mental health problems. Many people are experiencing an upsurge in alcohol and drug usage and are also suffering from the adverse effects of insomnia and anxiety. It is of paramount importance to understand and communicate the mental health issues and break the stigmas related to them. The mental health crisis has become global and is projected to be a significant issue in Pakistan also. It is therefore important to adopt effective measures to address the country’s mental health issues. The government of Pakistan has published a booklet consisting of 26 pages providing guidelines on how to cope with the psychological effects of this global crisis. The government should spread more awareness on the matter and establish digital mental healthcare platforms and make available telehealth options for citizens to reach out for the help of professionals when needed.
Taking care of your mental health should not be a chore. There is no health without mental health. Only a few behavioral changes in your lifestyle can have a very positive impact on your overall health in these times of need. For instance: Getting adequate sleep, eating a well-balanced and nutritious diet, exercising regularly, meditating, talking to your loved ones, friends, and people you trust about your mental health and staying virtually connected, quitting smoking, and reducing the intake of caffeine and alcohol in your everyday life.
Author: Nida e Batool
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