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COVID-19 Is Causing Disruption To Critical Mental Health Services: World Health Organisation

Ahead of World Mental Health Day (October 10), the World Health Organisation has highlighted the urgent need of revamping critical mental health services in 93 per cent of the world’s countries which are facing disruptions due to COVID-19

COVID-19 Is Causing Disruption To Critical Mental Health Services: World Health Organisation
Highlights
  • WHO has conducted a survey of 130 countries on mental health services
  • WHO highlights extensive disruption of mental health services amid COVID-19
  • There is a need of funding for aiding access to mental health services: WHO

New Delhi: As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the world, it has been causing not just the physical damage to over 3.5 crore people worldwide but also mental health issues including stress, anxiety and depression to even a larger number of people, according to experts. However, the new study published by the World Health Organisation (WHO), ahead of the World Mental Health Day, celebrated every year on October 10, shows that while mental health issues are increasing, COVID-19 pandemic has extensively disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93 per cent of the countries worldwide.

Also Read: 10 Per Cent Of World’s People May Have Been Infected With Virus, Says World Health Organisation

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation said,

Good mental health is absolutely fundamental to overall health and well-being. COVID-19 has interrupted essential mental health services around the world just when they’re needed most. World leaders must move fast and decisively to invest more in life-saving mental health programmes ̶ during the pandemic and beyond.

For the study, WHO surveyed 130 countries from June 2020 to August 2020 with an aim to highlight the impact of COVID-19 on mental health services. During the study, it evaluated how the provision of mental services, neurological services and substance use services have changed due to COVID-19 since the pandemic has started. The major findings of the survey include the following:

– Over 60 per cent of the total countries surveyed reported disruptions to mental health services for vulnerable people, including children and adolescents, older adults, and women requiring antenatal or postnatal services.

– 67 per cent of the 130 countries saw disruptions to counselling and psychotherapy.

– About 65 per cent of the total countries surveyed by the WHO has reported disruption to critical harm reduction services.

– More than a third have reported disruptions to emergency interventions including those for people experiencing prolonged seizures; severe substance use withdrawal syndromes.

– About a third has reported disruptions to access for medications for mental, neurological and substance use disorders.

– More than 70 per cent of the participating countries have reported at least partial disruption to school and workplace mental health service.

According to the WHO, even though many countries around the world have adopted telemedicine or teletherapy to overcome disruptions to in-person services, there are significant disparities in the implementation of these interventions. The survey also highlighted that although 89 per cent of countries reported that mental health and psychosocial support is part of their national COVID-19 response plans, only 17 per cent of these countries have full additional funding for covering these activities.

Also Read: How To Take Care Of Mental Health Among Children During Coronavirus Pandemic And The Lockdown

WHO Urges Countries To Increase Funding Towards Mental Health Services

With its new survey, the WHO has also reiterated the previously highlighted observation that the countries are not investing adequately towards mental health services. WHO said,

Prior to the pandemic, countries were spending less than 2 per cent of their national health budgets on mental health and struggling to meet their populations’ needs. There is an urgent need for increased funding. As the pandemic continues, even greater demand will be placed on national and international mental health programmes that have suffered from years of chronic underfunding. Spending 2 per cent of national health budgets on mental health is not enough. International funders also need to do more: mental health still receives less than 1 per cent of international aid earmarked for health.

According to Shumita Kakkar, Founder, United We Care, an online counselling and therapy start-up, mental health services are needed now more than ever. She said,

Income loss, being in isolation, bereavement, fear of the disease, fear of a close relative/friend getting the infection are some of the many reasons that are triggering mental stress in people. People with pre-existing mental, neurological or substance use disorders are also more vulnerable to the pandemic. Post lockdown, the number of calls received on our mobile application has increased significantly and is still increasing every day. I am glad that people are at least acknowledging that they are facing some mental issue. We a network of about 300 professionals and we try to reach out to as many people as we can virtually.

She further said that the vulnerable sections in the low-income groups and in villages are still facing a lack of access to mental services. She suggested that in the country, each government hospital, both in cities and in rural areas, must have a dedicated ward for mental health services. She added that mental health problems need to be treated at par with physical health problem, in importance. She said that mental health professionals, along with community leaders, opinion builders and policymakers, should work towards demystifying various myths and help in removing the stigma attached with it, which is also one of the biggest reasons that is holding people back from seeking help.

Also Read: Prolonged Self-isolation Due To Lockdown May Make Humans Feel Depressed, Powerless, Says Israeli Professor

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

24,50,12,529Cases
20,64,25,824Active
3,36,14,434Recovered
49,72,271Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,50,12,529 and 49,72,271 have died; 20,64,25,824 are active cases and 3,36,14,434 have recovered as on October 28, 2021 at 4:00 am.

India

3,42,31,809 16,156Cases
1,60,9891,672Active
3,36,14,434 17,095Recovered
4,56,386 733Deaths
In India, there are 3,42,31,809 confirmed cases including 4,56,386 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,60,989 and 3,36,14,434 have recovered as on October 28, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

66,06,536 1,485

23,096 3,500

64,43,342 4,947

1,40,098 38

Kerala

49,38,603 9,445

77,158 2,100

48,31,468 6,723

29,977 622

Karnataka

29,86,835 282

8,459 80

29,40,339 349

38,037 13

Tamil Nadu

26,98,493 1,075

12,288 252

26,50,145 1,315

36,060 12

Andhra Pradesh

20,64,854 567

4,777 122

20,45,713 437

14,364 8

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,114 13

100 6

16,87,115 7

22,899

West Bengal

15,89,042 976

7,973 124

15,61,973 837

19,096 15

Delhi

14,39,709 38

348 25

14,14,270 13

25,091

Odisha

10,39,818 549

4,392 213

10,27,108 334

8,318 2

Chhattisgarh

10,05,926 28

263 14

9,92,088 12

13,575 2

Rajasthan

9,54,411 4

20 0

9,45,437 4

8,954

Gujarat

8,26,481 17

173 2

8,16,220 15

10,088

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,804 20

108 9

7,82,172 10

10,524 1

Haryana

7,71,204 15

133 5

7,61,022 10

10,049

Bihar

7,26,073 5

41 1

7,16,371 4

9,661

Telangana

6,70,829 186

4,164 63

6,62,714 122

3,951 1

Assam

6,09,506 244

3,838 153

5,99,681 391

5,987 6

Punjab

6,02,289 38

246 20

5,85,487 16

16,556 2

Jharkhand

3,48,705 28

160 30

3,43,408 56

5,137 2

Uttarakhand

3,43,861 17

150 6

3,36,312 23

7,399

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,865 70

838 16

3,26,596 86

4,431

Himachal Pradesh

2,23,406 261

1,972 211

2,17,693 48

3,741 2

Goa

1,77,969 23

454 29

1,74,152 51

3,363 1

Puducherry

1,27,846 40

443 10

1,25,546 50

1,857

Manipur

1,23,473 70

844 29

1,20,712 97

1,917 2

Mizoram

1,19,496 547

7,320 446

1,11,752 991

424 2

Tripura

84,438 15

123 1

83,499 14

816

Meghalaya

83,466 51

507 22

81,511 71

1,448 2

Chandigarh

65,331 5

29 2

64,482 3

820

Arunachal Pradesh

55,120 6

115 22

54,725 28

280

Sikkim

31,925 13

177 1

31,353 12

395

Nagaland

31,759 12

222 3

30,856 15

681

Ladakh

20,925 8

47 6

20,670 2

208

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,682 1

6 0

10,672 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,365

0 0

10,314

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,650 2

5 1

7,516 1

129

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