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Assam: Coronavirus lockdown triggers rise in suicide, mental health issues

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The global health emergency caused by the COVID-19 has led to a nationwide complete lockdown. This has triggered an increase in mental health-related cases across the nation along with the rest of the world.

Frustration, anxiety, panic attacks, loss or sudden increase of appetite, depression, mood swings, insomnia, delusions, and suicidal tendencies have become quite common during the lockdown period. These tendencies are getting increasingly evident in Assam as well. “An upsurge in mental health-related cases has been observed of late in the state. CID has continuously been monitoring the matter,” said Assam Director General of Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta while adding that the Assam Police has already launched a Mental Health Helpline number.

Another interesting fact is the groups who have meer vulnerable as opposed to others. Guwahati-based psychiatrist Dr Sangeeta Datta said, “There is no second opinion that the lockdown, which was enforced to prevent the lethal coronavirus, has triggered an increase in mental health cases. But surprisingly, most of the patients are elderly. This is a new trend and of course a matter of concern.”
Moreover, the economic crisis is one of the root causes behind the rise in such cases. “People have lost jobs across the nation. The unemployment rate has increased to the next level. An uncertain future is looming over now and this has led to frustration which led to an increase in such cases,” she added.

It is pertinent to mention that the unemployment rate, which was 7.9 percent in April last year, has gone up to 23.4 percent in April this year, according to Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).

Another added challenge has been to treat current patients. People with pre-existing psychological issues are unable to receive proper therapy on time or have had to go off prescription medication worsening their condition.

Mental health experts suspected domestic violence to be another cause of the increase in mental health-related cases.
The lockdown has also seen a massive spike in the number of domestic violence cases. The worst affected are children and women who are now trapped inside their homes with their abusers. Men who are either unemployed or frustrated about being home often taken to abuse their wives or children when it comes to such abuse cases.

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