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Actress Shriya Saran’s coping mechanisms during quarantine in Spain make you wonder about the mental health crisis we may be facing during this pandemic.
“Thousands have lost their jobs, many are stranded alone in hostels, away from their loved ones and several people don’t have a roof over their heads,” said actress Shriya Saran who is currently self-quarantined in Barcelona with her husband. He had experienced COVID-19-like symptoms himself.
Like many of us, Shriya misses her home and family is anxious about her future. She spends her time watching movies, meditating, practising yoga and reading books to help destress and pass the time well.
Her feelings and emotions seem to echo a universal sentiment as so many of us are confined with our families, friends, or significant others. And in some cases, alone as we are unable to go back home for various reasons. Vulnerable and marginalised communities face a heavier burden as they can only begin rebuilding their lives after the lockdown eases and conditions are safer.
There has also been a lot of backlash against celebrities despite the fact that they are using their craft to provide relief for people via social media. Yet, the divide between the realities of these starkly different worlds seem all the more profound now.
A part of the negative toll this period is taking on our mental well being also as it has to do with the feeling of dread and hopelessness. The feeling that comes with the COVID-19 crisis especially with social distancing and isolation.
Many of us have close family or friends who are at-risk groups or are immunocompromised. And some even have family or friends who have either suffered from the illness or have shown symptoms and are currently in the hospital or in quarantine at home.
With so many of us staying home as healthcare workers continue to fight on the front-lines, the situation certainly seems akin to a war-like scenario.
Thankfully, social media and technology have made it easy for us to stay connected and spend quality time with our loved ones. Many of us have even taken to blogging about our experiences and organising parties on Zoom for special events, birthdays and even anniversaries.
Moreover, though staying at home will help flatten the curve, our mental and emotional health also hangs by a thread. For many of us, home is not a safe space or haven of peace in any way.
Victims of domestic violence and abuse are almost being forced to bear this confinement period stuck at home with perpetrators. It is at home that they are all the more vulnerable to their physical, emotional and psychological abuse. At the same time, the COVID-19 era has also seen mental healthcare and support systems crumble under the pressure.
Many children and adolescents have also seen their mental health spiral during this time due to the closure of schools. Number of them are largely dependent on the school support system and resources. Children with special needs and autism are also more at risk. School is an essential coping mechanism for them and adhere to their specific needs and requirements.
Though they are one of the only mediums of communication, media stories and coverage have contributed to more fear-mongering. Lack of a schedule brought about by this sense of fear, paranoia and hopelessness is also impacting our productivity. And leading to us falling down the rabbit hole of social media and news coverage.
Social media is a machine that continues to bombard and almost choke our Instagram and Facebook feed with the barrage of the latest updates about startling death tolls and new cases. Many of us may even begin to suffer from burnout or compassion fatigue as we are exposed to these traumatic and stressful broadcasts.
Now is a good time to be alert and informed about the issues related to this crisis. It is important to pay attention to reliable coverage during this period which also shed light on positive stories and progress. At the same time, we should try our best to do an effective social media detox to filter out extraneous negative coverage.
With threats like climate change looming above our heads, the COVID 19 Crisis proves to be a cautionary tale. It even seems like its foreshadowing what is to come. At this juncture, should we prepare for the fact that this may indeed be the new ‘normal’ with regards to our well being and way of life?
Picture credits: Shriya Saran’s Instagram
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Shivani is currently an undergraduate political science student who is passionate about human rights and
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