Anxiety latches on to frontline doctors fighting pandemic

New Delhi: The lockdown has raised a lot of issues related to mental health among people, for which various helpline numbers have been established. However, doctors who are at the forefront of the pandemic are struggling with mental health, depression.

According to experts, doctors are suffering the anxiety of caring for sick patients but are also dealing issues related to their health as they are facing a dire lack of personal protective equipment and

rapidly changing hospital protocol. On the other hand, cases of violence against doctors are also on the rise, which has made the health workers stressed

and angry.

"We are doing our duty here and look at these people who don't even have the understanding to behave properly. What if we stop checking these same people who abuse us," said a doctor from a government hospital.

The correspondent approached doctors in various hospitals, who on the condition of anonymity, said they are having panic attacks and nervous breakdown. However, they are not stopping due to the crisis and are working so that the situation improves.

"For people living with their families, it's definitely a little stressful knowing you're going to be taking home pathogens. Because we're all in an age group that's mostly not going to encounter that fatality of the virus whereas our parents and grandparents are. I mean, we feel that way every time we come home even in a non-pandemic state and a loved one's first instinct is to embrace us. We, as healthcare professionals, know how we can't

really escape infection completely especially in a government hospital setting in India. But everyone's trying their best," said a resident doctor from a state hospital.

Meanwhile, as the issue of PPE kits is also increasing doctors say it is another battle which is taking a toll on them. "It's disheartening how PPEs have to crowd funded and aren't available to the staff for use already. They don't even care about our physical health, mental health is a long shot. Just a few days ago, a resident from Hindu Rao was served a termination order for 'bringing disrepute to the institution' because he distributed face shields among the staff that he had procured from an NGO. Nothing really makes sense and we know that the administration is not here to back us," said a health worker at Safdarjung Hospital.

Dr. Samir Parikh, Director, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences at Fortis National Mental Health Program told the correspondent that the doctors are not getting the time to process everything. "At the moment, the only thing the doctors can focus on is the pandemic, which will also help them and divert them at the moment," he said.

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