The rapidly increasing death toll and the subsequent preventive and control measures taken by the government to curtail the Covid 19 pandemic have given rise to a completely unknown and new dynamics of our daily lives. Though the initial paralysis of fear and confusion seems to be shrinking gradually, the overwhelming magnitude of the psychological disintegration and the mental unrest that is rippling throughout our society in the wake of this paralysis should be duly and fully appreciated. For such a normative anxiety and uncertainty is subconsciously embedded in every person’s psyche, and in effect, burdens his/her mental, physical, and social well-being. It is essential therefore that we attempt an honest understanding of this often unacknowledged aspect of every emergency. For while physical and financial deterioration of health is quite apparent, their resultant psychological ailments often go unnoticed and thus either remain unattended or woefully mishandled.
We Pakistanis being a nation of a third world country have always underestimated the severity of mental health issues. Since poverty rages rampant in our society, most of us make it a priority to grapple with the most apparent causes of our financial or physical ailments. Consequently, even if we do manage to realise that we are facing some challenges regarding our mental well-being, we set it aside to be addressed at are leisure or overlook it entirely. Now however, if we do not simultaneously address the issue of curing or maintaining our mental well-being while battling other complications of Covid 19, it would be an emotionally exhausted or perhaps even handicapped nation of the coronavirus survivors in post Covid 19 days in Pakistan. And who would be responsible for such a scenario but ourselves? For the cure of mental diseases require us all to be patient and understanding towards each other, otherwise it only adds to the stresses and worsens our situation.
According to the recent reports from WHO, 24 million of Pakistan’s population has mental health problems and only 10,000 individuals or a 0.1 9% of the total infected people have access to proper psychiatrists. This goes to show the inadequacy of our awareness regarding this subtle disease which plagues our hearts and minds. Also, the greater number of our population are either poor or living under the poverty line. Most of the daily wagers have a nominal income of 100 to 3 600 Pakistani rupees. As a result, there have been an increase in the number of suicides committed out of the stress for not being able to provide for their families. In addition to this stress the general anxiety have mounted an unbearable crescendo of sufferings as the people in rural areas are unable to secure money for their Covid 19 patients to be treated or at least tested for verification. Our children and youth are losing their carefree innocence and vigor of their youthful days into the frustration of being caged for their own safety in their own houses. This emotionally exhausting dilemma can only be addressed, by increasing awareness about mental health, and a reiteration of a belief in our own strength to endure the trial of these trying times.
In essence dear reader, you and I, all of us together have the power to deliver ourselves and our fellow countrymen from this unconsciously fought battle. It is upon us to donate as much time and money, and our intellectual resources to ensure the well-being of our nation. If nothing else, let us consult our immediate circles how best to tackle these mental health issues! Let us make use of social media networks to generate positive, uplifting posts which contributes and reducing the resultant morbidity of the Covid 19 pandemic, and provides relief to whoever comes across them!