TW: Mention of suicide.
With the ongoing pandemic and lockdown, no one can deny the tremendous stress that people everywhere experienced. From getting essential items to the new world of Zoom and Google meetings, we were taken on a roller coaster ride. The crisis of mental health is very much real and this pandemic made all of us step on it in some way or the other.
For different people, it meant different things. For the kid who felt sad for missing out on what it feels like to attend school on the first day to kids unable to go out and play in the evening, to teachers and students adjusting with the new schedule of online classes, the much-awaited trips and marriage for some, and unfortunately some to us saying a final goodbye to our loved ones, and to each one of us unable to meet our loved ones, the list is endless!
While some individuals took to various ways to access mental healthcare online or tried guided meditation, the same wasn’t possible for all. In the end, I feel that all this brings a kind of temporary relief if it doesn’t touch the core of the issue, and fails to bring the much-needed change in the real world. For example, colleges or universities organizing mental health webinars but failing to tackle the real issues faced by students.
Leaving a few cases, the majority enjoyed the quality family time, but it also led to chaos in many cases. The rising cases of unemployment added to the woes of the people. There has been an increased rate of suicide in every corner around us. Be it a family member who is unable to make ends meet or a student lacking access to online classes, for many ending their life seemed like the only option they had.
No matter how much we, as people, policymakers or administrators, try to solve the issue, the most important thing is to address the root cause of the problem. It is only for a limited time that we can keep ourselves glued to episodes of web series along with Dalgona coffee. In the end, a healthy and peaceful mind is all we seek.
I wonder if we are prepared for any such big event because the future is unknown. The real challenge is that of the unknown. This challenge is not just for policymakers but also needs to be addressed at a deeper community level, and for every group that impacts people. How long shall we wear the mask of ‘all is fine’?
To end with, Glenn Close rightly said, “What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candour, and more unashamed conversation.”