K’taka minister stresses on mental health amid Covid scare
Bengaluru: Exhorting the people to take care of their mental health amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Karnataka Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar on Friday advised the affected to seek counselling provided by the state government at its hospitals across the southern state.
“Mental health is as important as physical health, especially during the pandemic. Avail personnel counselling offered by the state government at its hospitals across the state,” Sudhakar said in a statement ahead of the Mental Health Day to be observed worldwide on Saturday.
Stressing on a sound mind during the pandemic, Sudhakar, a medical doctor by occupation, said there was a need for greater awareness of mental health for fighting coronavirus to prevent suicide, madness and stress arising out of depression.
“As per WHO reports, 7.5 per cent of the people across the country are victims of mental depression. India accounts for 15 per cent of global mental illness. As per a survey, 20 per cent of Indians will suffer mental illness by this year-end. Hence mental health is equally important,” Sudhakar said.
Noting that the state has a mental health authority to address the challenge, the minister said 7.13 lakh people availed the personal counselling facility in government hospitals across the state.
“Though our doctors and nurses are boosting the morale of the patients besides treating them for the infection, I urge the people to use our counselling facility even through the toll-free number (104) and stay fit mentally and physically,” said the minister.
On the hardships the people are facing due to the virus spread since mid-March, Sudhakar lamented that many people had lost their jobs and were facing economic crisis.
“Many people are also suffering due to wage cuts over the last six months. Those who still have jobs are working from home for the last few months, causing mental depression and anxiety,” the minister said.
Allaying fears of the pandemic spread, Sudhakar said over 5.5-lakh Covid patients have recovered from the infection in the state since mid-March.
“Practice yoga, pranayama (breathing) and dhyana (meditation) daily. Exercise regularly and boost the morale of the family members and friends during these hard times. No cause for panic,” asserted Sudhakar.
Hinting that a vaccine to treat the virus could be delayed, the minister said that people should follow the guidelines such as wearing mask, washing hands with sanitiser and maintaining physical distance to fight the disease.
“As we are still in war with the coronavirus, it is imperative for all of us to stay fit mentally and physically. Though people followed the guidelines during the lockdown period, they have been ignoring them in the unlock period,” Sudhakar added.
With 10,913 new cases till Thursday midnight, the state’s Covid tally has gone up to 6,90,269, including 1,18,851 active cases, while 9,789 persons have succumbed to the virus since the pandemic broke out in Karnataka on March 8.