‘Expect surge in mental illness post-Covid’: AIIMS Director warns

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Once the Covid-19 pandemic is over or brought under control, there is likely to be a surge in cases related to mental health, announced Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr Randeep Guleria, on Saturday, October 9, 2021.

“Post-Covid, we will see increase in mental issues and need to be prepared on how to address them – from a prevention point of view, from early diagnosis, and trying to do the best considering limited and alternative resources. We need to work on identifying issues related to mental health, and how to resolve them,” said Dr Guleria, while speaking at ‘Mental Health in Post Covid World’ public lecture at the institute.

When OPD services were shutdown, the psychiatry department switched to offering tele-consultancy and services.

During this time, the department observed four types of groups: one was of the common mass who had anxiety and stress issues related to the pandemic, second was of existing patients, third was of those who had initial symptoms of illness and fourth were healthcare workers of the institute itself.

“Challenge was to address those who lost family members to Covid through telecommunication. Some cases were still coming at OPD services, which could not be attended properly through telephone,” said Professor of Clinical Psychology, Dr Sujata Satapathy.

Dr Bichitra Nanda Patra, Additional Professor in Psychiatry, said child psychology is important because a child’s thought process or way of perceiving a situation is different.

“There were restrictions on mobility, education was disrupted, social interaction came to a halt, stress and anxiety as parents lost jobs, financial burden, all these factors affected young minds. When it comes to adverse impact of Covid on children, it can be seen that they suffer from traumatic flashback… the trajectory goes slow,” he stated.

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