In the mid of January 2020, the world was gone up against with another disease ‘COVID-19′ brought about by the Coronavirus Managing this pandemic is the greatest test to confront the healthcare workers as it will request a ton from them all. Arjuna as a ‘Warrior’ was feared that impending war would cost him a loss of his own near and dear. Similarly, during this pandemic of COVID-19 peoples are also concerned about losing their family members or friends.
The basic reaction to this scenario has been very much emotional and unprecedented. Doctors can’t hug their kids as soon as they came back home. Doctors and nurses have to avoid their families so that they can look after their patients. Health care workers are going through a never-ending unspoken anxiety and emotional turmoil. Yet, the doctors are performing their DHARMA (Duties) daily and leaving behind their feeling as if nothing has happened
We are amid a storm, a Tsunami of COVID-19. I can relate to the immense trouble that we all are undergoing while the nation reels under the devastating second wave of COVID-19. Medical Profession and Stress goes together. Medical service involves a lot of factors like taking care of other peoples’ lives — mistakes or errors could be costly and sometimes irreversible!
Health care workers (HCW) form a huge proportion of the vulnerable group of population for development of psychological consequences related to the outbreak. Front-line workers are those who are involved in handling patients with COVID-19. They are at a higher risk for the psychological impact than other HCW. The underlying reasons for these are prolonged working hours, inadequate support, absence of personal protective equipment, concern about infecting their loved ones, high infection rate among the medical staff.8 Frontline hospital workers see COVID-19 patients dying every day — often because of a lack of resources and time.
Certain demographic variables like younger age (<30 years), female gender and, the nurses more than doctors have significant influence on the intensity of depressive and anxiety symptoms. Despite harboring such symptoms, social support and moral responsibility have been responsible for allowing them to continue their duties amidst the pandemic. Those with poor social support, lack of self-efficacy are associated with increased stress, anxiety, depressive symptoms, insomnia among healthcare workers., moreover, during this second wave doctors are feeling helpless, not able to save young patients due to lack of oxygen, new strains, no proper guidelines.
Health Care Workers (HCWs) including Medical Staff faces problems like:
- Stress, Anxiety, Depression most common
- PTSD like symptoms-witnessing huge number of deaths/ morbidities
- Work related stress, burnout, fatigue
- Stigma, harassment, out casting of HCWs
- Emotional trauma- death & suffering of co-workers
- Fear of infecting family member
- Guilt if some elderly family members get infected
- Fear of going back home and fear of hugging their children , meet the elderly’s
- Felling helpless and guilty when not able to provide / arrange for beds with oxygen / ventilator
- Helpless situation-unable to save life, limited resources
- 747 doctors died of Covid-19 in India as reported IMA (April 17, 2021)
- It reported the highest number of such deaths from Tamil Nadu, West Bengal followed by Maharashtra
- In Maharashtra around 17,975 health workers are so far hit by the virus of Covid-19, of which 11,235 are from government hospitals, while 6,740 are from the private sector.
- Deadly virus, poor PPE & sanitization, poor infection control system, not all were vaccinated, infection with mutant strain
Take care of yourself by the following:
- Video chats with family & peer groups
- Share the experience with others
- Counselling by trained counselors or psychologists
- Formation of Support groups
- Adequate protection from infection, availability of beds, oxygen & ventilators
- Telemedicine facilities (already present)
- Video/education material to be available
- Back up HCWs (steps taken by Govt)
- Giving proper recognition/awards/remunerations
- Relaxation Exercise
- Deep Breathing.
Dr Aninda Sidana
Dr Aninda Sidana is a mental health professional with a difference having her roots in the field of mental health and family background of a psychiatrist; she had her exposure towards nuances of mental health since very young age .with a dual experience of 10 years in a general hospital psychiatry unit as well as tertiary care neuropsychiatry center she is well equipped to handle both severe and chronic mental illnesses as well as common mental disorders and is being trained in psychosexual medicine. She is hailing from Rajasthan, Sri Ganganagar and dealing with patients from both rural and urban background. Trained at the prestigious institute of human behavior and allied sciences, she uses an integrative approach to achieve a state of optimal mental health and well being for her patients. Her range of expertise includes stress management, addictions, marital therapy and psychosexual disorders. Being a female doctor and dealing with sexual issues and also addictions, and various mental health issues especially in a small city is quite challenging.