Rise in mental health issues among Students due to lockdown : Delhi University professor

Content warning : mention and description of mental health issues.
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Prof. SPK Jena, clin.psy.du.ac.in@gmail.com (department of applied psychology, University of Delhi South Campus)
Dr. Geeta sahare, geetasahare@yahoo.co.in (president, Delhi University women’s association)
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The university of Delhi recently started it’s online mental health counselling service. It has found that the lockdown is taking a heavy toll on mental health of students. An assessment of 45 students has revealed that a majority of them are suffering from generalized anxiety disorder, restlessness and a sense of hopelessness about their future.

DU had started the counselling service for it students on April 8, with the help of psychology faculty members, retired psychology professor and professional psychiatrist.

SP Jena, professor of applied psychology in DU and also the person in charge of the counselling service said that, “we see two types of cases. in some students existing mental health problems have exacerbated due to the lockdown induced restriction on the free movement. The other types of case involves those whose mental health problems can be linked to the lockdown alone”

He also mentioned that students who remain confined to their hostel rooms or PG accomodations reported depressive moods, sleeplessness, tendency to engage in self injurious behaviors, such as face slapping and skin picking more frequently than those who stay at home. But even those students who stay at home with their families suffer from interpersonal problems, including domestic violence.

Pacing around the room, lack of concentration in studies and unexplained crying spells were seen among a few students. Some students also spoke about their compulsive behaviors like repetitive thinking of repetitive hand washing.

“Some stay in bed for a considerable amount of time doing nothing and failing to decide what to do. When accompanied by depressive mood state, helplessness and loss of appetite may lead to major depression. In such scenarios, we ask the students to develop a schedule. We tell them to structure their days and talk to people. We even suggest then to write about Their issues.”

The DU professor suggests that mental health counselling started during the lockdown should continue. He also said that COVID-19 is not just a medical problem, it can have serious psychological consequences and cripple productivity. He Believes that establishing a viable mental health delivery system for the students will take us a long way.

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