If we understand the situation, our mental health remains stable: Dr Thagunna

Dr Narendra Thagunna

Psychiatrist

Chairperson of the School of Psychology, Dr Narendra Thagunna says if we remain positive, our mental health remains stable. What can we do to reduce the post-traumatic stress caused after natural disasters or pandemic? Here is the conversation of Dr Thagunna with Ramesh Prasad Timilsina.

It is said that Natural disaster and Pandemic has deep impact in our mind. What are its risks?

Natural disasters, pandemic or unexpected situations affects our mind. This is natural and is risky as well. The pandemic of corona virus has changed our daily routine. Therefore, it has impact on our mental. Organizations working in the sector of mental health have also made some such predictions. Even World Health Organisation has warned about it.

What all kind of distresses can be seen?

Increase in stress, anxiety, depression, suicidal instincts are some of the distresses seen after some unexpected events that occur in our life. Insomnia is also one of them. People are highly suicidal. American Psychological Association (APA) has informed an immediate increase of suicide cases after lockdown is over. Therefore, it is certain that there will be different kinds of difficulties.

What can people do to save themselves from such risks?

There are many solutions to it. We should eat balanced diet, keep negative thoughts away from us. We should look for positivity beyond difficulties, struggles, and negativity. Lockdown is not good for our mental health. But, if we live in a happy and healthy home then the relationship between family members are deepen. Positive thoughts should be increased and negative thoughts should be decreased. We should use this time for personal care and involve ourselves in creative activities. When we delegate time for our hobbies then also our mind becomes positive. We should talk to people who can understand us.

Do you mean engaging ourselves in free time develops positive thoughts and improves our mental health?

Negative thoughts are the catalyst behind mental issues. Most importantly when people are negative towards themselves or others, they seem have mental issues. That is why increase in positive thoughts, accepting opinions and staying away from unnecessary news related to the pandemic can keep our mental health stable. Excessive reading, hearing or watching negative news and social media can have effect in our mental health. So, we should allocate limited time for those activities.

Is it true that comparatively, Nepal has less number of mental health patients?

Mostly after any kind of incidences, 8 to 10 percent people experiencing them go through mental stress. But post-earthquake, only 4 to 5 percent of people were found in stress. There hasn’t been any kind of serious studies. It is our social convention to help people in need. Engaging ourselves in religious activities can also help in getting out of stress. This decreases negativity. Therefore, comparatively Nepal has less number of mental health patients.

Do you mean people who understand the situation are in less distress?

People understanding the situations have less mental issues. In the case of pandemic, it is not an individual but entire world going through this and we are not alone in it. Our connectivity is with the society; therefore we listen to people and share our situation with people. This gives peace. Hence, people understanding the situation are in less distress.