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Pandemic Stress: Mental Health Helpline Receives More Than 70,000 Calls Since 2020


Pandemic Stress: Mental Health Helpline Receives More Than 70,000 Calls Since 2020
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The coronavirus pandemic has been hard on millions of people for a variety of reasons. Prominent among these are the common citizens who have reported an increase in work stress given that work hours have increased while several have also witnessed a reduction in their salaries. 

As per the Mpower mental health helpline that works in coordination with the Maharashtra government and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), it received over 70,000 calls from across the country in the last financial year. The helpline reportedly received a majority of the calls from people between the ages of 26 to 40. 

In addition to corporate establishments, the Mpower helpline also received calls from farmers and teachers seeking mental health remedies. Around 70 per cent of the callers were reportedly male. 

“Nearly 25 per cent of our callers reported stress and anxiety, whether it was anxiety related to career growth, health, exams, the pandemic or problems at the workplace,” a spokesperson for Mpower said. 

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Moreover, nearly 8 per cent of the calls were about relationships including concerns with partners or members of the family. Around 10 per cent of the calls to the helpline were about loneliness and depression. Many people reportedly called to seek remedies for drug addiction and anger issues as well. 

“In the 2020 lockdown, there was a lot of anxiety but still a lot of optimism. What seems to have changed this time is the feeling of hopelessness and acceptance of fate. There is numbness setting in about how long we can go on this way,” child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr Sapna Bangar said. She went on to say that incidents of children catching COVID-19 have led to an increasing sense of concern among parents. 

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The overwhelming amount of information we consume on a daily basis, especially with regard to the pandemic, on news channels and social media is also contributing heavily to the accrued stress. 

Head Psychiatrist at Mpower Foundation, Dr Ambrish Dharmadhikari said, “In patients already suffering from mental health conditions, round-the-clock flow of news like insufficient hospital beds or difficulty in finding oxygen cylinders is exacerbating their condition.

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