Aug 26, 2020

MENTAL HEALTHCARE IN THE TIME OF THE CORONA PANDEMIC

The world is reeling under difficult times due to the wide spread of COVID-19. With the rapid influx of news from all over the world, through television, social media, newspapers, family and friends and other sources, the most common emotion faced by all is FEAR. It makes us anxious, panicky and can even possibly make us think, say or do things that we might not consider appropriate under normal circumstances. 

Staying at home can be quite nice for some time, but can also be boring and restricting. This is the time to explore some ways to keep positive and cheerful by keeping busy, distracting yourself from negative emotions by listening to music, reading, watching an entertaining programme on television, rediscovering our hobbies and most importantly to eat well and drink plenty of fluids. 

Handling emotional problems is also called for in the need of this hour. While social/physical distancing is a must in order to combat the issue of the Corona virus, it is essential to stay connected with others. Communication can help you to connect with family and friends. Call up people whom you haven’t spoken to and surprise them. Discuss happy events, common interests, exchange cooking tips, share music. 

Just as you can recognise your own mental health problems, be sensitive to such problems in your near and dear ones, which may include:

1. Changes in sleep patterns

2. Difficulty in sleeping and concentrating

3. Worsening of health problems

4. Increased use of alcohol, tobacco or drugs

 Be supportive to them. If the problems persist, please contact the Helpline or contact your doctor or a mental health professional. Persons who had previous mental illness may face newer challenges during self-isolation or Covid infection:

1. They would also have the same fears and stress as others which may worsen their previous mental health condition

2. Social isolation may make them more withdrawn, moody and irritable

3. They may not seek/get easy access to medicines and counselling 

Help and support is vital for persons with mental illness from their families and other care givers. Health Helplines can provide support, in addition to regular taking of prescribed medication, a regular daily routine, keeping engaged and positive. 

Given this situation and with AWAG being active on the issue of mental healthcare of women and adolescents since over a decade, awareness meetings were conducted with adolescents from AWAG’s work area in Bapunagar, Ahmedabad (Gujarat) to equip them to cope with the prevailing situation. 

THE MEETINGS CONCLUDED WITH THE MANTRA....

“FOCUS ON FACTS, REJECT RUMOURS AND THEORIES!”

Jul 7, 2020

Understanding the Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic Lockdown on Domestic Violence

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic many countries have reported an increase in domestic violence and intimate partner violence. The UN has described the worldwide increase in domestic abuse as a "shadow pandemic" alongside Covid-19. Domestic Violence cases have increased by 20% during the lockdown, as many people are trapped at home with their abuser. 

Pandemics, financial insecurity, stress and uncertainty have led to increased aggression at home, with abusers able to control large amounts of their victims' daily lives. As stated by the French Secretary of Equality Marlene Schiappa, "Confinement is a breeding ground for domestic abuse." 

Domestic violence and sexual exploitation, which is already an epidemic across the world, spiked when households were placed under the increased strains that arose from security, health and money worries, and cramped and confined living conditions. More domestic violence helplines and shelters across the world reported rising calls for help. 

India too has seen more than a twofold rise in gender-based violence during the nationwide.  Between 23 March 2020 and 16 April 2020 National Commission for Women registered 587 domestic violence complaints, a ~45% increase from the previous 25 days. Factors compounding the situation included the confinement, financial worries due to the lockdown, and lack of access to alcohol. The virus mirrored the pre-existing patriarchal notions and magnified the discrimination and pre-existing inequalities. There has also been a threefold rise in police apathy towards women complaints, with the police busy with lockdown orders.  

Founded in 1981, AWAG is active on addressing the issue of violence against women through various approaches wherein raising awareness on gender abuse among the participating communities is considered to be the most vital step in the entire process. 

Thus, a series meetings to spread awareness related to gender abuse and means of combating it were conducted for the participating communities. In addition, inputs on maintaining respiratory hygiene and so also that of their surroundings was also touched upon. Strict adherence of wearing facemasks as well as maintaining social distancing at such times was also conveyed to them.

May 27, 2020

Demistifying Myths related to Menstruation

Over 80% of India's women do not have access to hygienic material/sanitary pads for menstrual protection. Lack of awareness and affordability leads to women using sand, ash, rags or dirty cloth instead of sanitary pads, thus leading to blistering, soreness, infections and long-term reproductive health issues. This problem has been addressed through the given project that focuses on building awareness about menstrual health and hygiene by training young local women leaders to raise awareness about menstrual health and hygiene and generate income through selling low-cost sanitary pads locally.

Awareness raising meetings were conducted with young women from deprived communities in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

The meetings rallied around discussing the following points as well as concerns put forth by the participating women.

  • How does menstruation occur?
  • Why is there pain during menstruation?
  • Is it normal to menstruate every 15 days?
  • What practices do we adopt to maintain hygiene and prevent the occurrence of reproductive ailments?  
  • Is it OK to cook food and prepare pickles during menses?
  • What are the benefits of using sanitary napkins?
  • What are the reasons for white discharge?

Through dialogue and discussion on menstrual health, a large number of myths and problems regarding menstrual health issues, hygiene and related topics were explained and demystified.

Women were also introduced to low cost sanitary napkins made available through AWAG.

THANK YOU!

 
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