Is Covid-19 the real pandemic? Think again...

A conversation on mental health

Homeworks, assignments, midterms, projects, guitar classes, and preparing for the next interschool debate. The list is endless, ok maybe not so much now because of the pandemic, but how often do we stop and reflect on how we actually feel? Not often! How often do we speak to our parents, teachers, or even elders around us about our feelings? Again, not often.

We are connected through our devices yet disconnected through one, and another’s soul. We are always online, yet we don’t have time or the ability to comprehend what our friends are going through. We lack empathy.

According to the World Health Organisation, below are a few numbers:

● Globally, more than 264 million people suffer from depression, and is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents.

● One in four people in the world is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives.

● Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15-19-year-olds.

Globally mental or neurological disorders affect 1 in 4 people at some point in their lives.

Impact of Covid-19

Even during normal circumstances, mental well-being is paramount. It is important for a progressive society and to make the world a better place to live. The pandemic, however, has made it even more challenging to stay mentally fit. Prolonged isolation and the lack of physical, social interaction deprives humans of an essential human need. Those of you who study Economics would know about Maslow’s hierarchy theory and how high he ranks social needs.

Adolescents like yourselves are more severely impacted as these formative years of your lives are crucial for building habits that eventually shape your overall personality. Mental illnesses in adolescents that are undiagnosed and untreated can lead to major disorders well into adulthood. Disorders can be of several sorts; the most common, however, are behavioral, emotional, and eating disorders.

While scientists and researchers toil away to produce a vaccine for the world, they might eventually find a cure for Covid-19. However, the impact of the pandemic on mental health can’t be undone. Governments, institutions, communities, and individuals like ourselves need to come together to prevent mental illnesses and promote the importance of mental health.

Well, if we can come together to stop an invisible virus, why not mental illnesses that have been around for decades?

5 most common mental illnesses

There are various types of mental illnesses. Some of the most common ones are listed below.

Mood disorders: People with mood disorders tend to have extreme fluctuations in mood. At times they’re in a prolonged phase of sadness and misery, or they’re overly happy and delighted. Examples of mood disorders can be depression or bipolar disorder.

Anxiety disorders: Anxiety disorders can have physical visible symptoms such as an increased heartbeat, profuse sweating. People suffering from anxiety disorders don’t have an appropriate response to a situation or struggle to contain a response. There are times when anxiety also appears to interfere with our lives' normal day-to-day functioning. Examples of anxiety disorders can be a panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias.

Psychotic disorders: Hallucinations and delusions are one of the most common symptoms of psychotic disorders. While hallucinations are pictures and images that are completely fictional, delusions false beliefs despite evidence that suggest the contrary. An example of a psychotic disorder can be Schizophrenia.

Personality disorders: People with a personality disorder have personality traits that are rigid and not in accordance with society’s norms. They find it extremely difficult to go about their normal day to day lives as their varied thinking patterns and behavioral challenges that society may find hard to accept. This also has an adverse impact on their social life and relationships. Examples include antisocial personality disorder, paranoid personality, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Post-traumatic stress disorder: This mental condition can arise as a result of a traumatic or terrifying event such as a physical or a sexual assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, or even a natural disaster. People tend to suffer from aftershocks of the events and can sometimes be emotionally numb.

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