Survey shows 70% depressed about Coronavirus
An online study to assess Covid-19’s psychological impact on a cross-section of the society in Bengal has revealed that the outbreak caused depression among 70 per cent of people.
The survey was conducted on March 29 and 30 by Kaustav Chakraborty of the department of psychiatry and Moumita Chatterjee of the department of anatomy at College of Medicine in Kalyani. They contacted 507 people over a period of 24 hours for the study.
Chakraborty said: “An unprecedented scare and anxiety have engulfed a large section of people. Our study is the tip of an iceberg. The World Health Organisation apprehended such psychological impact ever since the disease was declared a pandemic.”
The study indicates 71.2 per cent of the respondents remained depressed over the past two weeks.
A whopping 64.9 per cent of the respondents said Covid-19 had severely affected their mental status. A little over one-fourth of the participants in the survey said the disease had threatened their existence, whereas 30.8 per cent found it difficult to adjust to the lockdown.
The respondents include doctors, police, administrative officials, armed force personnel, homemakers, bank employees, teachers, professors, businessmen, students, engineers, lawyers, private sector employees and self-employed persons. They were of mixed religious communities in rural, urban, semi-urban and metropolitan areas in the state.
The short study showed 52.1 per cent of respondents were still preoccupied with the fear of contracting the deadly disease. The disease has made 57.8 per cent of the respondents worried more about their future and families.
At least 37.1 per cent of the participants in the online survey acknowledged that the fear had made them more irritable, while 33.1 per cent said they had been suffering from the sleep-wake cycle.
“As a doctor I have encountered a large number of people during the past one month who despite having a healthy life are suffering from a wide range of fear psychosis. This inspired me to undertake the study with my colleague Moumita Chatterjee,” Chakraborty said.
The fear is such that a multi-service pathological lab in Calcutta had received over 1,000 calls to know if they were offering Covid-19 test. When told that the lab didn’t have the facility, several of them turned to do routine blood test only to confirm that they were doing well.
The study reveals that 69.6 per cent of the respondents are worried about the financial loss during the lockdown.
The study revealed a disturbing trend of people taking medicines without doctor’s advice to thwart Covid-19. At least 10.8 per cent of the respondents have acknowledged that they were taking hydroxychloroquine to prevent contracting Covid-19.
The survey held that social media was contributing to the depression. Nearly 25.6 per cent and 34.7 per cent of the respondents have acknowledged that fear increased after reading WhatsApp and Facebook messages, respectively.
To overcome the fear, some people (2.2 per cent) sought the help of psychiatrists, while a few others started taking anti-depressant drugs and sleeping pills.
Asked how one should overcome the fear, Chakraborty said: “There is no immediate solution. But people must try to watch, read or listen to Covid-19 news in social and other media less. One should also take practical measures to protect himself and his loved ones from the disease. Keeping glued to Covid-19 updates will only make one more depressed.” Of the 507 respondents, males were 382.
The lockdown was supported by 96.3 per cent of the participants.