Kashmir Indepth

COVID-19: Mental illness on rise in Kashmir, need measures to combat it, Docs tell Govt

Suhail Khan

Srinagar, June 24 (KINS): The ongoing situation has impacted the mental health of Kashmiris and measures are needed to combat it, health experts have told the government.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has pushed crores of people to the confinement of their houses across the world. Kashmir depicts a distinct rundown.  Various surveys have revealed that over 45 percent of the population in Kashmir has symptoms of mental illness.

As a large population struggling with various mental health issues due to turmoil, the number further went up post August 5 when the valley remained shut for months. Now lockdown according to doctors could worsen the condition to people in Kashmir especially children who are susceptible to mental ailments.

As per official documents lies with news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS), HOD Department of Psychiatry GMC in a recent meeting with Divisional Commissioner Kashmir stressed upon that mental illnesses are on rise due to Covid-19 situation in Kashmir.

“He explained common types of such illnesses among people, measures to combat them and also shared the contact numbers of Psychiatrists with their timings for contacting them on phone,” the documents read.

An official privy to the meeting said the participants expressed concern over rising mental illness in Kashmir.

“There are hundreds of people in Kashmir who are worried over the falling mental health of their children. Levels of despair, unhappiness, helplessness have increased manifold,” the official said.

Children according to doctors are most susceptible for anxiety and stress. The curfews and strikes in Kashmir have created uncertainty in the children who are not able to maintain their academic calendar.

Bashir Ahmad, a resident of Hazratbal said his children have become addicted to mobile phones and social media these days. “I have two daughters of age 7 and 5 years. They have lost interest in studies. They don’t want to go school or to open their books. They don’t listen to me instead fight each other for mobile phones to play games,” he said, who is a teacher by profession.

He said during last year’s lockdown in Kashmir he would take his children to Kashmir University lawns, which is near to his home. But this time he has no other option than to stay at home. (KINS)

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