Lucknow, May 20 (IANS) With the lockdown set to complete two months, its impact is now being seen on the mental health of students, senior citizens and women, in particular.
Students are in different phases of their academic year. Some have completed it and some are waiting to take their entrance examinations. The major entrance exams of 2020 have not been held yet. NEET, JEE Main has been postponed. For other exams, the application process has been extended. This uncertainty is causing considerable mental stress to the students.
Yashika Singh, who is preparing for medical as well as engineering entrance exams, said, "I am at the threshold of a career and I am facing a blank future. I do not know when these exams will be held and whether I will get time to search for other options. I am obviously under severe stress and so are my parents."
Alisha Siddiqui, a class nine student, is finding it difficult to adapt to the system of online learning.
"The Internet is erratic and I miss out on the online classes. This adds to the stress because I will be taking the board finals next year," she said.
Dr Pankaj Gupta, President, Indian Institute of Health Management Research, said that students should be counselled to accept reality and not bother much about the things that are not in their hands.
"Parents, mentors, and educational institutions must undertake counselling sessions with students so that the stress level is minimized," he said.
Senior citizens, who have been locked down for two months now, are also experiencing increased stress levels.
"When the family came together in the beginning, there was euphoria and everyone enjoyed being together. But now we seem to be getting on each other's nerves. The children feel burdened with us and the grandchildren no longer seem to enjoying our company. We are also missing the solitude that we had earlier," said Sheila Srivastava, who has been staying with her two sons since the lockdown began.
Anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite, and lack of physical activity are some of the biggest challenges that Sheila and her husband face and the couple admits that they have become apprehensive, resentful, anxious and prone to anger.
Kewal Kapoor, Director CHAI Kreative and Return of Million Smiles, said, "Senior citizens tend to feel ignored by their grandchildren who remain preoccupied with their smartphones and computers or face bitterness due to their financial dependence. The government should launch a mental health helpline to assist seniors, and announce specific concessions for them."
Women, too are now feeling the stress of the lockdown.
"Initially, it seemed an ideal situation where the family was spending their time together and I was cooking for them because the domestic help was absent. But now, my husband has gone back to work and children are busy with online classes. My in-laws are unwell and all household chores are being done by me. No one has the time to help. I am feeling over-burdened and extremely stressed," said Ruchi Khanna, a young homemaker.
Prakriti Poddar, an expert in mental health and managing trustee of the Poddar Foundation, said, "In the prevailing situation, stress is inevitable and more complicated in the pandemic where everyone is experiencing anxiety."
Poddar added, "Those who have jobs and are working from home, are finding it difficult to negotiate the challenges of different spaces and managing different people while at work. Many of them are finding it difficult to manage their family lives where incidents of frequent outbursts are often reported."