Lockdown casts a long shadow on people’s mental health: Nationwide survey

Published On: May 8, 2020 11:20 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, May 8: As  the nationwide lockdown enters the seventh week, preventative measures to contain the coronavirus are having a slow but steady impact on mental health.  People are restless, sad,  fearful,  anxious, and worried for themselves and their families, a study has shown. The study, conducted from April 23 to May 03 has a sample size of 2,082, from across Nepal.

According to the research, 18 percent of the respondents suffered from restlessness, another 18 percent experienced fearfulness while 37 percent suffered from anxiety and worry. Also, some 29 percent experienced sadness most of the time in the last two weeks.  

And, 50 percent of the respondents suffered from at least one psychosocial problem whereas 32 percent suffered from two or more psychosocial problems, such as restlessness, fearfulness, anxiety and worry and sadness.

The findings are comparatively higher than the first phase of the study which was conducted between April 3 and 10, with a similar sample size and methodology. The prevalence was 42 percent for any problems and 26 per cent for two or more problems.

The second edition of the study has shown that social media, TV, radio, and newspapers were the regular sources of information regarding COVID-19 pandemic, and one in every 11 respondents reported violence in their community during the lockdown.

Also, one-fourth of the women reported an increase in their workload during the lockdown period.

The study also assessed the status of the relief distribution from the people's perspective. According to the study, 20 percent of the people reported that the relief distribution by local governments and other organizations was well-managed whereas  38 per cent reported that the relief was distributed only to some people and 13 per cent reported that the distribution was unfair. 

The study has suggested immediate action to mitigate the psychosocial problems arising from the lockdown. "This demands immediate action from the government and relevant stakeholders to address the issues," it said.

The study was carried out with the technical support from Transcultural Psychosocial Organization Nepal (TPO Nepal). A team of six Nepali researchers under the leadership of Ramesh Prasad Adhikari was involved in the study.

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