During the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, which necessitated lockdowns and forced individuals, especially children and the elderly to remain indoors for months, there were apprehensions that the conditions were ripe for a significant rise in mental health issues across all the age groups. However, one year into the pandemic, barring a few instances, senior psychiatrists in Hyderabad have not reported a massive surge in the number of individuals suffering from mental health disorders.
“I am extremely pleased with the resilience and mental strength displayed by the average person in Hyderabad and Telangana. Despite lockdowns and the constant threat of the pandemic, hats-off to the common man for having the mental fortitude to bounce back,” says a noted psychiatrist from the city Dr. MS Reddy.
The senior mental health expert, who is the Director of Asha Bipolar Clinic in Asha Hospitals, Banjara Hills, said that despite children staying at home for nearly a year, there was no major spike in mental health issues among them. “Usually, children learn social and cognitive skills in a classroom environment and we were worried that there could be a rise in instances of breakdowns among them due to school shutdowns. Barring a few cases, we did not observe a significant jump in mental disorders among them. Some are anticipating that kids may find it difficult to re-adjust when schools reopen but I personally feel that they will adjust quickly,” he said.
Online learning, which was thrust upon the student community during the pandemic, in a way, has come as a blessing in disguise, believes Dr. Reddy, who is also the president of the Indian Association of Private Psychiatry. “We anticipated that e-learning could impact academics. It could be true for young children who learn a lot in classrooms through social interaction. However, for undergraduate engineering and MBBS students, e-learning helped get access to talented faculty, who otherwise are hard to find. Talented teachers can’t reach out to too many students and online learning has now made it possible. Students are now more open to online learning after the pandemic,” he said.
The Chief Editorial Advisor to the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine (IJPM) praised the inherent trait of quickly bouncing back among Indians. “We anticipated that it would be humanely impossible to implement a lockdown in India. But people, by and large, adhered to lockdown regulations. We also managed to protect our elderly and only the young ventured out. The public embraced the concept of washing hands, wearing masks and physical distancing,” he added.