Mental Health A New Concern Among University Students During Lockdown
By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 15, May 2020, 19:14 pm IST | UPDATED: 30, May 2020, 20:06 pm IST
Delhi: During the lockdown students confined to their home find that it is taking a toll on their mental health. Universities across the country have launched helplines to counsel them and provide support during these bleak times. While, it may seem like COVID-19 Lockdown induced gloom, but a recent survey conducted by the Indian Psychiatry Society revealed that there is up to a 20 percent increase in cases related to mental health issues.Universities launched helplines to support students and help them manage the stress and anxiety regarding their academics only for the counsellors to realize that it is much more than that. Dr. Harpreet Bhatia, Department of Psychology, Keshav Mahavidyalaya from University of Delhi who is one of the counsellor assigned to help students during lockdown said “Most problems that students talk to us about relates to academics. Initially, it was about the syllabus, they were concerned about how it will be finished. But fortunately, we have been able to complete the syllabus through online classes. Now the issues have shifted to exams. Students, especially from the weaker section who may not possess a laptop, are concerned about the mode of examination. For this, of course, there is no clarity yet and we reassure them by saying we are in the same boat as them.But as the lockdown continued problems beyond academics emerged, “Being with family members 24/7 during the lockdown has also given rise to personal problems such as harassment from family or just anxiety caused to strain in relationships of parents. A student had approached me with stress caused due to problems between parents. Students are also sharing their relationship problems such as being unable to meet a significant other since you cannot come out of your homes. Although we had anticipated academic concerns to arise during the lockdown, we did not realise the extent of issues that would come out.
Many unresolved family issues come out which were not addressed but being confined to one space throughout the day has forced these issues to come out and these students are in the middle of it.
Some counsellors such Dr. Renu Malviya, Associate Professor, Dept of Education, Lady Irwin College have also pointed out that some of these issues are deep-rooted and some even required more measures aside from counselling. “Many under the carpet issues are coming out and there were some instances when the cases had to be referred to mental health organizations such as Sanjivini Society.”
According to Dr. Bhatia some students require multiple sessions to resolve an issue, the counsellors also follow up with a student “in case they are hesitant to approach us after the first session and if we feel they need more help,” she added
These helpline numbers have been very helpful for students, as it is coming from institutions, they study in, so they feel a lot more comfortable sharing and seeking help. “Students feel comfortable in sharing personal problems with us especially if they are feeling depressed or harassed in the family. I also assisted foreign students who were stranded during the beginning of lockdown. We approached embassies and helped them fly home.” said Dr. Geeta Sahare, Deputy Dean (Campus Development), University of Delhi.
The current situation has many people anxious whether it is about the fear of contracting the virus or uncertainty of the future. India is also staring at a mental health crisis during the time of the pandemic, which is why many organizations have also published helpline numbers mainly to support people in crisis during the pandemic. Reports also say that the Indian Psychiatry Society has joined TikTok to give tips on mental health and keep people motivated during the pandemic.