Srinagar, April 5 (KINS): With lockdown taking a heavy toll on health of people, experts said children are most susceptible and asked parents to play a positive role amid crisis. They said if parents are stressed, it will have directly impact on their children.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has pushed billions of people to the confinement of their houses. Kashmiri children are susceptible to fall mental illness. The schools in Kashmir reopened on February 24, after a gap of seven months. Educational institutions were shut since August 5 when Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated state into two union territories-Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. The lockdown to combat coronavirus has come as a strong blow to the mental health of Kashmiris especially children.
Child and adolescent mental health counselor at Child Guidance and Wellbeing Centre run by IMHANS in collaboration with UNICEF, Wasim Rashid Kakroo, said increase or decrease in appetite, sleep, shifting of moods, losing of interest are all indications of stress.
“Parents need not tell children about the pandemic. They should instead create a peaceful environment at home. They should start an open dialogue at home without provoking children. They should also establish routine schedule for children what teachers would do in schools. They have to evolve with children and reinforce it,” he told KINS.
He asked parents to keep children away from news about COVID-19.
“When there is news on TV how many have been killed due to coronavirus, its impact is directly on mental health of children. Parents should not watch news in presence of children. We should tell children about precautions and not to create panic. Children mind has not developed that they can understand things properly. So parents should ensure children should not feel stressed amid ongoing crisis,” he told Kashmir Indepth News Service.
He said parents should manage their anxiety so that it does not reflect on their children.
“Parents have to be patient because children are emulating their activities. If parents are stressed it will have direct impact on their children. They should make a peaceful environment in their home,” Wasim said, who is also providing counseling to people on the phone.
Similarly, Javid Ahmad Mir, who is Post Graduate Psychiatric Nursing and research scholar, said disease of any kind has a major impact on the mental health especially on children.
“Be it COVID-19 outbreak or other public health events, can cause emotional distress and anxiety. During any disease outbreak feeling anxious, confused, overwhelmed or helpless is mostly prevalent,” he said.
He said people should make limited use of social media, taking adequate sleep and rest.
He suggested people to remain hydrated and take good amount of fluid (lemon water, ginger water, mint water). “They should remain connected to loved ones. Keep yourself busy with your interests like reading, music, sketch, painting, writing,” he added.