EHS-COVID (393) COVID-19 and mental health services (6) Impact of COVID-19 on mental health (3)

9 June, 2021

Dear HIFA members,

General or Specialist Out Patient Department (OPD) services were closed due to COVID-19 lockdown. Only emergency services were provided. This effected service delivery to existing patients with reduced chances of doctor-patient interaction. New patient diagnoses and treatment were mostly affected.

There are instances of discontinuation of treatment for existing patients. This led to increased severity of symptoms in the existing patients. Due to non-availability of services prospective care seekers had found it difficult to cope up with the mental health ailments resulting in grave consequences. There have been incidents of suicides during lockdown or jumping from the top floor of hospital buildings after being diagnosed with COVID-19. The positive case diagnosis creates fear and anxiety in the individual and they start thinking that I am gone and finished. Many times, they consider COVID19 to be a death sentence.

Best regards,

Sanchika Gupta

HIFA Global CR Coordinator

HIFA profile: Dr Sanchika Gupta is an Indian healthcare specialist with eight years of experience as both clinician and public health programmer. She explored wide breadth of public health realm viz. family planning/reproductive health, maternal, adolescent and child health during her association with national and international NGOs namely INCLEN, MAMTA, Jhpiego and Pathfinder International. She acquired technical expertise in advocacy, program management, research, monitoring and evaluation throughout her fieldwork in eight Indian states (Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh). She is the nominee of ‘120 under 40: the new generation of family planning leaders’ in 2019. In the recent years, she has been associated with HIFA through its Social Media Working Group and EHS-COVID19 project. In 2021, HIFA nominated her as Global Country Representative Coordinator. Currently, she is based in New Delhi, India and is available on email id or Twitter @sanchika_gupta.