What is the impact of lockdown on the mental health of women in India?

 What is the impact of lockdown on the mental health of women in India?

Most respondents across all age groups thought that their mental health was somewhat affected during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown in April 2020, according to a survey of Indian urban youth about life in lockdown. Around 42% of female respondents between the ages of 18 and 25 said their well-being was severely impacted at the time. A pathogen was described and labelled 2019 novel coronavirus in December of this year (2019-nCoV). The impact of this pathogen on the mental health of women in India is not widely understood, and it is unclear to what extent the mental health impacts can be attributed to the fear of contracting a new, unknown, potentially deadly disease or whether women's reported mental health impacts were due to other factors such as the effects the lockdown had on their daily lives and psychological state.

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The lockdown was a national crisis in India with an estimated 25 million people affected. Lock downs were declared to avoid the spread of the virus, and working women were required to play dual roles: work from home and work for home. Researchers wanted to see how much emotional and physical stress Indian women professionals were under during the COVID-19 lockdown.

27.5 percent and 27 percent of participants, respectively, had mild and serious mental health issues. During lockout, 34.3 percent of people experienced a significant rise in physical load because of household chores.

Participants were asked to open their homes and share their thoughts about the virus, how it affected them, and what new measures could be taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

The study concluded that while COVID-19 was successful in decreasing overall stress due to lack of regular contact between individuals, it was a short-term solution that only used part of the population to limit spread of disease.

According to a 2015 survey by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, Indian women work six hours of unpaid work per day, while men work less than an hour. The number of hours, on the other hand, is likely to have increased as the pandemic spread.

There's a sense of dread in the breeze.

Women have experienced a major emotional effect because of the combination of tension, anxiety, and terror, as well as social isolation. According to a new report by CARE International, while almost everyone is feeling anxiety and emotional exhaustion because of the pandemic, women are almost three times more likely to experience serious mental health consequences.

It was discovered that around the world, 27% of women reported anxiety, lack of appetite, sleeplessness, and other symptoms, compared to 10% of men.

Many people think it's embarrassing to be infected with COVID-19. At this point, people are afraid to seek help. Because of the stigma, families have begun to conceal their COVID-19 status.

“Stigma does have an effect on people's mental well-being,” P. Poorna Chandrika, Director of the Institute of Mental Health, told reporters. It makes them vulnerable to depression, anxiety, and insomnia.” Mental disorder was estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO) to be the leading cause of burden by 2030. Between 1990 and 2017, 197 million Indians suffered from mental illnesses, according to a report published in The Lancet. Especially the women. People face a less noticeable, but no less dreadful emotional struggle as a result of their gender. 

The full extent of the effect on women has yet to be determined. However, we must strengthen legislation and put in place safeguards to protect women. Institutions in the civil, healthcare, rehabilitation, and other fields must make efforts to ensure gender equality. As a culture, we must simply survive this global pandemic without endangering the mental health of an entire gender.

Finally, and most profoundly, we must engage in and improve mental well being and psycho social treatment services, with women at the grassroots serving as counselors, early detection of mental health problems, and referral to appropriate levels of care. Psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners should work together with women and their organisations on the ground in our villages and towns to ensure that no one is left behind. It will necessitate extensive preparation, mentoring, and ongoing support. Women, on the other hand, are eager to learn and play this part to the best of their abilities. This could be the first chance we've ever had to prepare for a mental health programme that is specifically tailored to our needs. 

This may be the best chance we've had so far to plan a mental health initiative that's tailored to the local background and needs, and it'll also be the last mile.

Research focused on the subject of mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic is still scanty, especially in women. Yet, Covid-19 pandemic has affected women much more profoundly than men, both as front line workers and at home. The financial crisis is developing gradually, resulting in an exponential growth in mental health problems. The UN (3) indicates that women 24 to 34 years old already face 25% more extreme poverty than men.

The Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) consists of an informal women workers' movement of 1,8 million in 18 countries of India. It organises women into their own collectives, for example trade unions and cooperatives. SEWA's mental health and psycho social impacts of COVID-19 have been mitigated throughout the last year with female members and their communities. The presentation highlights some of the narratives and lessons regarding the impact of COVID-19 and certain evolving solutions. The names and associated identifying data of the persons mentioned have been modified.

The 500 million informal sectors in India is facing lakhs of men and women who face the devastation of their livelihoods and erosion of their well-being as ever in living memory. Informal workers face challenges of all kinds as a result of the present COVID-19 pandemic, leading precarious lives at best, with little work or no income and security, food security and social security, such as healthcare, childcare, and insurance. Informal female workers, the most exploited and vulnerable workers in our country, are now struggling to deal with mental health and overall well-being inevitably.

Women, men and children scenes hundreds of kilometres to their villages are forever graven in our memories, long after that pandemic is over. It's impossible to imagine the stress and anxiety caused by this forced exodus.

Besides the immediate loss of work and livelihood, the working poor, like their fellow citizens, had to face a threat and risk of COVID 19. However, it still is essential to assess and understand the full and differing impact of the disease on individuals, bearing in mind nutrition and health status, levels of immunity, age, sex and accessibility to prompt and affordable health care.


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