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From Mental Health To Businesses, Covid Has Affected Every Aspect Of Our Lives

This post is a part of YKA’s dedicated coverage of the novel coronavirus outbreak and aims to present factual, reliable information. Read more.

The Covid-19 pandemic started in the second decade of this century. It has shown its effect in every aspect of the human race, including self-isolation. Even stray animals have been affected to a great extent by the pandemic. Leftovers from restaurants, hotels and other sources, which contributed to a major part of their diet, are not available to them anymore. People are forcefully staying at home so as to reduce the impact of the virus. Social distancing is important to cut the chain of the pandemic.

The third wave has increased anxiety, stress, phobia and depression among people, severely affecting the mental health of an individual. The psychological state of an individual differs from person to person. Quarantine and self‐isolation are more likely to give rise to stigmatisation.

Health workers working at at the frontline and helping Covid-19 patients are susceptible to getting infected, because of which they are more likely to get isolated from their families. Since the number of patients have increased drastically in the second wave, obviously there has been an increase in the working hours of doctors and other healthcare professionals who are at very high risk.

Representative image.

Mental Health Of Children During The Pandemic

Besides focusing on the physical health of the nation, the Indian government should also emphasise on mental health during the pandemic. Children’s mental health is also a great concern in the present situation. Schools are closed and they cannot meet their friends not play outside with other children. Even when it comes to online classes, there is a lack of concentration and attention among the kids as the teaching method has changed all of a sudden.

Children getting addicted to a video games and social media is a common complaint we get to hear from many parents. The annoying behaviour of small kids at home must be dealt with calmly by engaging them in healthy activities such as yoga, meditation, group discussions etc., all of which reduces stress.

Mental Health Of The Elderly During The Pandemic

The elderly people are more susceptible to the coronavirus due to their low immune system. Elder people in hospitals undergoing treatment for Covid are facing various mental health issues. Phone calls from their dear ones will relax them during pandemic. Spending time with family members, including children and the elderly, during this period can act as a priceless experience to relieve stress and anxiety. Everyone in the family can get involved in some sort games that may help them overcome mental stress. Public awareness in mental health may bring more focus to those going through tough times.

Some organisations have also taken the responsibility to feed stray animals. Residents of an area should be made aware of the need and importance of feeding the strays. If they undertake a simple strategy of feeding twice a day, they will be contributing so much to society, as organisations can’t reach every nook and corner of a neighbourhood.

The third wave will become dangerous for all. The mutated virus is attacking more and more people leading to many deaths. The mutated virus is directly attacking the oxygen level of the infected, and so external oxygen has to be provided. But there is a shortage of oxygen cylinders because of the increasing number of patients.

In such desperate times, many people are being taken advantage of through cybercrime. Fake callers gather information about Covid-hit families and ask them for a large sum of money in return for oxygen cylinders, and then disappear. Many such people have been caught by the police.

The number of Covid patients have increased drastically over the past month and no hospitals beds are available for them, giving rise to more deaths; even cremation of the dead is becoming difficult now. Governments as well as private organisations can sort out this situation by using hotels, schools and banquet halls to make Covid centres. Most of the patients only need home quarantine along with prescribed treatment to recover from Covid.

The whole world is in a standstill from the time the pandemic hit the world last year. Governments of many countries resorted to a lockdown to cut the chain of the virus. The international trading system has already been subjected to increased new restrictions. This has created a slowdown of trade. This, in turn, has resulted in the slowing down of the manufacturing of essential goods, which is then responsible for international and national losses.

The flow of currency within our economy has fallen badly. Governments must deal with this slowdown so that they can reduce the impact. Taking all precautions advised by the government is the best way to prevent the virus from attacking and mutating further. Vaccines are also being given to the masses. We can fight this pandemic and make this world safe from this deadly virus.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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