early Times Report
Srinagar, Apr 4: Asim Shabir, a 14-year-old boy, is fond of cricket. For last two weeks, he has not moved out of his home to keep himself safe from COVID-19. Sitting idle inside four walls has caused him distress and anxiety.
“We don’t have yard, where my children could at least move few steps. The lives of people are paralyzed. He is not able to study online due to slow internet speed,” his father, Shabir Ahmad said.
The ubiquitous outbreak of COVID-19 across the continents has pushed billions of people to the confinement of their houses. While this harsh and probably only preventive measure known as of now, to contain the spread of COVID-19, can have severe repercussions in the form of stress and anxiety among people across the world, Kashmir depicts an altogether distinct and dangerous rundown.
With already a huge chunk of Kashmir’s population struggling with various mental health issues because of decades of turmoil which got exacerbated since August 5, 2019, this virus has come as a strong blow to the mental health of Kashmiris especially children.
“My son gets easily irritated over small things. The lockdown is not new to us and the schools are closed since August 5 but at least my son used to go out in vicinity to play with his friends. Now, due to the fear of Coronavirus we don’t allow him to step out of the house. This makes him more aggressive,” Mohammad Sharif, a resident of Batamaloo said.
Adding to the woes is the non-availability of 4G internet students are not able to download the study material provided by the institutions or to avail the facility of online classes.
The educational institutions being closed for about eight months with small respite of few days in the months of February and March have triggered immense anxiety among children exasperating violent behavioral disorders in them.
A doctor at Srinagar’s SMHS Hospital said the ongoing crisis have taken a toll on the mental health in Kashmir. “During such situation, people face depressions and also develop post traumatic mental disorder,” the doctor said, wishing not to be quoted by name.
“There will be post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) of the ongoing crisis but its intensity will be known when doctors examine such patients as people are not able to visit hospitals these days,” he added.
PTSD is a condition that develops after an individual goes through a terrifying ordeal that involves physical harm or the threat of a physical harm. Symptoms may include disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams related to the events, mental or physical distress to trauma-related cues, attempts to avoid trauma-related cues, alterations in how a person thinks and feels, and increased arousal.