In the midst of the second extended lockdown in India or Lockdown 2.0, the social and economic deprivations created and augmented by COVID-19 responses are unraveling every day. Inevitably, there is (and will continue to in the long term be), serious adverse impact on psychosocial wellbeing of the people. These consequences are inevitably being experienced disproportionately by the most vulnerable – at the intersections of gender, caste, race, ethnicity, disability, age and other marginalised social locations.
Hunger, violence, loss of livelihoods / employment, gender violence, gendered burden of labour and care are only some of the many social and economic situations that have been aggravated during COVID-19 and responses such lockdowns, quarantines, isolation, and burden of work and care as in the case of women, girls and healthcare workers, etc. The stigma and violence including racial and communal targeting of communities, migrants, refugees and patients are phenomena in the COVID context that have also deeply affected psychosocial wellbeing and compounded the fears and consequences of inequalities, discrimination and intolerance.
Anxieties and distress of day to day survival, depression, isolation, fear of illness or violence, grief due to loss and many other psychological effects are increasingly evident. The abysmal reality of healthcare, compounded by a narrow COVID-19 health response has imposed serious barriers to healthcare for non-COVID health needs, including for mental healthcare.
Action to foster psychosocial wellbeing in the COVID context and its aftermath must resonate and integrate necessary support, healthcare as well as address the social and economic disruptions as a result of COVID responses. Strategies that promote psychosocial wellbeing are urgent as well as necessary in the long term; only an accountable, equitable and compassionate State and healthcare system can achieve it.
Contributed by Deepa, Sama
World Health Organisation (2020) Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak. Available at <https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/mental-health-considerations.pdf>, accessed 27 April 2020.
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (2020) Minding our Minds during the COVID 19. Available at < https://www.mohfw.gov.in/pdf/MindingourmindsduringCoronaeditedat.pdf, accessed 27 April 2020.
Patel, V. (2020). India’s Tryst with COVID 19. Available at <https://www.theindiaforum.in/article/indi-s-tryst-covid-19>