Despite the scourge of the Ebola virus, SARS Virus, lassa fever, among others, the world until hitherto was yet to be faced by such a pandemic like the corona virus also called Covid 19. While the corona virus which originated in Wuhan in China has overwhelmed world powers with sophisticated health care systems like the United States, China, Spain, Italy and even South Africa in Africa, the Covid 19 pandemic has exposed the inadequacies within the healthy care systems of Nations in the world today.
With infected cases amounting to over 2 million worldwide, deaths over hundreds of thousands, the negative impacts of Covid 19 can not be over emphasized. Economies have been shot down, schools closed, sporting events brought to a halt, travelling barred, it is only expected that depression will take central stage.
While the spotlight is on a search for finding a corona virus vaccine, how to ameliorate its impact on world economies, sporting events, tourism; one aspect that remains imperceptible and have suffered neglect is the impact of Covid 19 on the mental health of people.
Prior to the pandemic, the rate of depression and suicide all over the world have increased astronomically. Covid 19 and its vices have helped in no small measure to worsen the situation. The feeling of great sadness, hopelessness, anxiety affecting people which this dark times bring has debilitated the mental health of people.
Evident cases of depression and its effects leading to suicide and attempted suicide can be seen in the case of an Italian who killed his girlfriend for infecting him with the virus, an Italian nurse who brought her life to an abrupt end because she contacted the corona virus, a Nigerian who attempted suicide because of hunger caused by the lockdown, a law graduate in Botswana who killed himself over fears of lockdown to be imposed by state authorities.
Many reasons attest to causing depression among people in this trying times. The fear of contacting the virus has made some people spookier, the death of loved ones and bread winners of families have caused great sadness and hopelessness, force isolation and quarantine has also led to people getting depressed as most people are not used to staying put but are now force out of their volution to stay indoors because of the lockdown imposed. Also, hunger which in some quarters is referred to as “hunger virus” have also driven people to depression. Police and security agents brutality during this period have further added salt to injury.
Though we shouldn’t be impervious of happenings during this covid 19 period, we should be primly and not impetuous, enduring with longsuffering. We should try by all means to guard our mental health with all diligence by engaging in positive thinking and meditation, healthy eating and exercising in order to keep our heads above the waters as such habits and activities as opined by mental health experts help in preventing and ensuring a healthy mental health and above all else, we should bear in mind these perilous times too shall pass.
(c) Eucharia Adibe