By Temilade Aruya
Sir: The Coronavirus pandemic, started in the small province of Wuhan in China, has fascinated the whole world. Certainly, the world never really imagined the enormity of its effects, as well as the petrifying and devastating turn of events.
Life was suddenly interrupted. International and national events were abruptly canceled. Prominent world festivals and sporting events have been postponed indefinitely, while schools, nightclubs, cinemas and places of worship are in indefinite blockade.
Our ways of life have been fundamentally changed, reflected in new ways of greeting, social interaction and a more rigorous approach to hygiene, health and safety. Now, the terms social distance, constant hand washing, personal protective equipment, blocking, “stay home and stay safe” etc. have become more extensive as the world struggles to combat this mortal and invisible enemy.
As we witness daily an increase in the rate of infection and mortality caused by the pandemic, the fear of the unknown grabs people's hearts, because no one knows for sure who will be the next victim.
Unfortunately, in this period, women and children are at greater risk of domestic violence. Generally, during pandemics, there is always pressure on the medical infrastructure, as the main focus is always on treating and preventing the spread of the pandemic.
In Nigeria, for example, the people who are most affected by the blockade are those who receive average and daily income, especially those in the informal sector who survive on daily earnings.
Therefore, there is an increase in the rate of domestic violence in homes, as couples with a fragile relationship are united at home, with nerves becoming fragile and agitated.
Dealing with the reality that food supply and cash flow may not always be available can also be daunting and nerve-wracking, especially for families with vulnerable dependents, such as children and the elderly.
Furthermore, the COVID-19 crises also exacerbated the state of insecurity, as unscrupulous elements use the blockade as an avenue to steal and attack unfortunate countrymen. This, of course, can be quite disturbing, depriving people of sleep and worsening mental health.
Thus, mental health-related complications are now increasing as a result of the inability to properly manage COVID-19-induced stress.
This mainly results in depression, a medical condition that interrupts a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Depression results in a decreased ability to cope with the common demands of life.
At a time like this, it is important that people with mental health problems seek professional help on how to deal with the emotional, psychological and physical stress caused by current events in society.
Living in denial would be counterproductive, especially for those with known symptoms of depression. Therefore, the adaptation of the coping mechanism that will guarantee the stability of mental health during and after COVID-19 becomes convenient.
Undoubtedly, an obvious consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic is depression. Of all indications, the country's complicated COVID-19 situation has increased the number of citizens at risk for clinical depression.
Now, people appear at the lowest level of provocation. All of these are dangerous signs that must be treated with caution, because if they are not adequately combated, depression can culminate in suicide.
All levels of government should pay more attention to mental health issues and ensure that access to care is as easy as possible.
- Temilade Aruya, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.