COVID-19 pandemic is one-of-a-kind adversities in human history that has stirred and changed the way modern human beings have perceived and led their lives. It has not only affected human beings in social, economic and cultural aspects of his life but has also influenced their psychological health to continue to play their effective role in all these domains. The leading world economies as China, England, Italy, American and many more have been devastatingly influenced by this pandemic. The Southeast Asian countries such as India and Pakistan has also experienced this calamitous pandemic. This pandemic has transformed their world. Their lifestyle and practices have been mainly subjected to it. The role of a sound mind is inevitable to the maintenance daily life activities. These have been ceased as a result of SOPs to prevent this pandemic.
In India chiefly, there were stern lockdowns to practice physical distancing in the early month of 2020. A ban on social gathering and travel was practiced. India also practiced an international travel restriction in the January 2020 (DNA, Web Team, 2020). Occasional curfews were observed in areas that were severely affected which was followed by a 14-h voluntary lockdown (The Indian Express, 2020). To prevent spread of novel corona virus India also practiced punitive measures to avoid people from visiting the shopping malls, workplaces, educational institutions and worship places. This situation of lockdown provided people with the idea of how dangerous the crises at hand and led to increase in fear of corona virus.
The lockdown practiced by the government of India proved to be extremely unsettling for the people (Madhav et al., 2017). There were a number of stressors that played a significant role in increase in anxiety in people. The restriction on day-to-day activities, a continuous practice of hygiene, separation from cherished ones, and lack of recreational activities lead to mental health issues as it equals being confined (Pan American Health Organization, 2009 Vieira, Franco, Restrepo & Abel, 2020). During the COVID-19 lockdowns the decline in mental health has been associated to a disturbance in professional and personal lives (Odriozola-González, Planchuelo-Gómez, Irurtia, & de Luis-García, 2020; Pandey et al., 2020; Zhang, Wang, Rauch, & Wei, 2020).
Some chief contributors to mental health issues the preventive measures led to included depression, excessively worrying about health of close ones, trouble sleeping, panic due to stress, in concentration, and a feeling of loss of control (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020; Le et al., 2020; Pierce et al., 2020; Roy et al., 2020; Tee et al., 2020; Wang et al., 2020a; Wang et al., 2020b; Xiong et al., 2020). People also indulged in some activities even before the lockdown that also exhibited an increased anxiety pattern among them. These included mass exodus of people to their hometown and countries and panic buying of hygienic products (Mukherjee, Bailay, Shrivastava, 2020).
The mental health experts regarded COVID-19’s uncertain nature to have led to fear in the population that is thus resulting in their increased anxiety. Di Harish Shetty, Mumbai renowned psychiatric states COVID-19 being invisible perpetuator the fear have been multiplied a million-fold. It is an enemy that is hard to aid people cope as it lack a concrete form to identify. Anxiety has hit the India nation at it peak with a rise of 114,860 people experiencing it in a single month (April 25- May25) with the second wave of pandemic which was 197.3 million in 2019 according to International Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI).
The fear of the virus itself contributed at first causing excessive anxiety. A 27-year-old boy Vaibhav (name altered) in Delhi experienced tightening chest, shoot in blood pressure, shortness of breath and racing pulse as a result of anxiety as a result of fear of the virus. He used to listen to ambulances during pandemic which increased each day. He was convinced that he had covid in the middle of the state. He then began to think irrationally about contracting it to his sick father or would he die with it or would he get medicine, oxygen or bed at hospital for his father at all. Dr Soumitra Pathare, a director of Centre for Mental Health Law and Policy (CMHLP) in Pune stated that the unpredictable disease has led to an uncertainty in atmosphere that is a factor in anxiety induced by Covid.
Paranoia is leading people to act without rationality they are hoarding medicines, hygienic products, cylinders of oxygen, and constant tracking of updates on Covid and seeking advice about tests, medicine and symptoms from professionals. A recovered patient, 50-year-old homemaker in Hisar Haryana is worried about recurrence of infection and is exhibiting the symptoms of anxiety post-Covid in the form of overthinking.
The second factor to rise in anxiety is the fear of death. The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) has identified primary psychological issue that the pandemic has observed is anxiety about death without access to close relations in an unnatural circumstance. Dr Samir Parikh regards fear od one’s life as the most basic form of anxiety.The burning pyres, mass graves, lack of essential facilities in hospitals been continuously reported and fed by media to masses in the second wave has also increase anxiety and fear related to death.In Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 21 percent of respondents experienced that kind of fear in a study conducted in April 2020 titled ‘Psychological impact of Covid-19 Lockdown’. A psychologist and an associate professor in Mumbai at Human Ecology, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) stated the evolution of fear from first wave to second wave. She mentioned that migrant worker experienced the fear of dying alone without access to transport or money to return go back at home.
The uncertain nature of covid led to third major contributor to fear of being alone among general masses. Even the loved ones begin to abandon their relations as a result of this dreadful virus. A 22-year-old girl Asha (altered name) from Meerut stated that I hope not to get infected as I would not be able to cope with it. The trouble of her fellow being anxious and apprehended in trying to cope with Covid isolation induced anxiety in her as well and she begin to experience panic attack at the slight idea of been alone in a room. A co-founder and CEO of Yuvaa, a community engagement organization, Nikhil Taneja has catered students aged 18 that need help through Therapy project. It launched on 10 October 2020. Beside that organizations like Inner Hour, a mental health and wellness platform has served 150 hours of free therapy to individual. These included those who lost opportunities to study abroad or placements had cancelled exams.
These factors have affected the mind of modern human as we know it. Therefore, there is a need of continuous counselling and therapy that will be helpful in reviving and building the psychological capital and internal locus of control which have been identified to associate positively with such adversaries as covid.