Impact of COVID-19: Address Psychological Sufferings: SAARC Psychiatric Federation

Impact of COVID-19: Address Psychological Sufferings: SAARC Psychiatric Federation

Shahjahan Afzal

SRINAGAR, May 27: Renowned Psychiatrists of SAARC countries under the banner of SAARC Psychiatric Federation and Indian Psychiatric Society have called for urgent action to address the psychological sufferings brought on by the COVID – 19 Pandemic.

Dr. Abdul Majid, from Jammu & Kashmir who happens to be the Chairperson, of Disaster Management Task Force of Indian Psychiatric Society, along with Dr. Manu Arora [CO-Chairperson] and Dr. Deepanjali Medhi [Convenor] had organised the symposium themed “Mental Health & Covid 19 – Novel Disaster Novel Strategies”.

Speakers from India , Dr. Sandeep Grover, Dr. Gautam Saha, Dr. Om Prakash Singh, Dr. Pronob Dalal, Dr. Sathyanarayana Rao Telkar, Dr. Roop Sidana, Dr Helal Uddin Ahmed (Bangladesh) Dr. Pradan SAARC President, Dr. Nirmal Lamichhane, Secretary SAARC Psychiatric Federation, Prof. Abdul Malik from Pakistan, Prof. Shehan Williams from Sri Lanka, Dr. Helal uddin Ahmad from Bangladesh, Dr. C Dorji from Bhutan shared their experiences and way forward as for as addressing Mental Health issues arising out of COVID-19 are concerned.

The experts cautioned that after decades of neglect and underinvestment in mental health services, the Covid – 19 pandemic is now hitting families and communities with additional mental stress of losing their livelihoods. They said that people have immensely suffered for remaining separated from loved ones while being under drastic lockdown restrictions and added that the children being kept out of school also face uncertainty and anxiety.

The body stressed the need for countries to include access to psychosocial support and emergency mental care in all aspects of their response to the pandemic. It said that more efforts are need of hour from all stake holders to minimise the disastrous effects on physical, economic, psychological and social aspects by joining hands together.

The Psychiatrists found need of more interactive programmes to exchange ideas, of such nature in future, which will long way help in planning effective strategies to combat the problems arising out of COVID 19 or other such calamities.

Prof Afzal Javed, president Elect World Psychiatric Association, stresses upon regional collaboration to address the various aspects of COVID disaster by SAARC countries together.

According to organisers more than 500 participants from SAARC region participated in the event. Dr. Abdul Majid, Dr. Manu Arora and Dr. Deepanjali from team Indian psychiatric society thanked all faculty members and delegates for their active participation and sharing experiences which will in long way help in combating mental health problems arising out of COVID 19 in SAARC region.

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