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Key Takeaways of Webinar Mental Health & Well Being during COVID 19 and Beyond

Today’s Traveller has announced the launch of a webinar series: “Dialogues on Mental Health & Well Being: COVID 19 & Beyond” together with one of India’s leading Psychiatrist and Life Skills Expert, Dr Jitendra Nagpal, in response to the elevated levels of stress in the wake of life-altering changes caused by COVID 19. The first webinar in the series, titled, “Anxiously Yours” took place on Saturday 11 July 2020.

“Unexpected, sudden, unanticipated COVID-19 brought shock to the entire world. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensively affected human life. Mental health and wellbeing have been impacted in a manner unprecedented. We need to be prepared to cope up with the changing realities,” explained Dr Nagpal.
For those who may not know him, Dr Jitendra Nagpal is a Senior Consultant Psychiatrist & Incharge, Instt of Mental Health & Life Skills Promotion, Moolchand Medcity, New Delhi.
He is also the Program Director, Expressions India – The National Life Skills, Community & School Wellness Program. Dr Nagpal has been in the Services planning, Training Groups and on board with many committees under the MHRD, MoHFW, Min of WCD, Social Justice, CBSE, NCERT & UGC.
He has developed various programs and training manuals under the MHRD for school-based implementation of Health, Safety & Well Being Programs. He has been instrumental in developing the Health & Physical Education Guidelines under the National Curriculum Framework of NCERT.  ‘Anxiously Yours’ discussed the most common issue we face several times in a day…Anxiety.
How do we cope with anxiety? How do we feel better? 
Key Takeaways of the webinar: inputs by Dr Jitendra Nagpal:

  • It is a challenge to cope with the uncertainty, the stress, the anxiety caused by COVID 19. It is a pandemic that has taken the world by shock and surprise.
  • We are coming across so many newer forms of the pandemic, not the least of which is Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • I am cognizant of the fact that we come across daily..we come across so many calls on anxiety, panic attacks, stress and anger.
  • We are recognizing it and learning that the mental health pandemic is not running parallel to the physical illness curve.
  • We don’t have a prediction of the mitigation of the disease. We may soon have a vaccine and the disease may be controlled but life and livelihood are at stake. It is a sustained disaster, so it is chronic and people are grappling with the idea of survival..to the point of being phobic about it.
  • Uncertainty is stressor Number #1
  • We must understand Mind as a component of good health
  • In the last 2 months, anxiety as a symptom and anxiety as a disorder is coming across
  • Strong, resilient people feel anxious
  • Signs of anxiety include a feeling of suffocation, choking, palpitation, insomnia
  • We should be prepared as a family to discuss mental health as a component of good health
  • 150million Indians need mental health care. Barely 30 million get right-time intervention
  • Therefore, we are examining how families can help, schools can help, community can provide intervention and help
  • We should recognise early symptoms and not allow anxiety to become a disorder.
  • Among adolescents and young..the circadian rhythm is disturbed due to a disproportionate time spent on cell phones.  Internet addiction and video games are becoming a big challenge to mental and physical health
  • Stick to a healthy routine of a good diet, exercise, and sleep. Habits and behavioural attitudes need to be attended to
  • Anxiety is a result of the ecosystem of life being unbalanced
  • Innate frustration due to job loss or business closure often results in the displacement of these feelings and turns into passive if not active domestic violence
  • Job loss will impact relationships at home. This is a grey area. We need to bring attention to it in our Public Health Education and Policies
  • Introspect on the family system and join hands to say This too Shall Pass
  • This 150 million people who need mental health care can double in the next few months. Therefore we need to help ourselves as a family and as a community.
  • A good amount of deep breathing, exhaling is very beneficial. Celebrate living with luxurious breathing and stretching. When you are anxious you become economical about breathing
  • Breathe well, breathe steady and breathe a lot. Be a good, deep, long breather
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