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Quoted on LivingFoodz (Covid 19 and Mental Health)

Dr Nahid Dave quoted by Suman Quazi on Mental Health , Social Isolation and Covid 19 on LivingFoodz

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Consultant psychiatrist, Dr, Nahid Dave who is practicing at Thought Matters, Insight Clinic, Vashi and Dadar in Mumbai, says that panic goes around in vicious cycles and can affect your mental health irreversibly. Dave, and other experts share insight to help you stay positive through what is an undoubtedly trying time.

Change the mindset

Dave – who specializes in treating adolescents and young adults using Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy (REBT) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – says that the key to deterring the overwhelming impact of Coronavirus lies in changing the narrative. “Initially when the conversation around COVID-19 began, most people were either panicking, or writing it off as media hype, whereas the reality is somewhere in between. So, the first step, is to accept that this is our reality.”

According to her, the two primary factors that make the Coronavirus pandemic such a threat to our mental health, include the uncertainty around its cure and how long it’s going to last, and that it plays on our carnal fear of death . The second fear, is heightened further by the rising number of death tolls and cases.

“This is a disease that cuts across age, religion and race, making us all vulnerable. Added to that is this period of lockdown, or social distancing, which is leading to more stress. But if you change your perspective, in the sense that, if you took an off from work for 21 days and stayed at home, you would make the most of it, right? Right now, because the lockdown has been imposed on us, most of us are looking at it as a punishment and entertaining frustrating thoughts. Rather, look at it as 21 days of ‘me time,” Dave suggests.

Dr Dave echoes this and suggests that this might be a good time for them to get savvy with the internet, rather than be limited to simple chores. “If you have grandparents, old-aged parents or septuagenarians, pick up the phone and help them get acquainted with the net. They could use it to video call family members or reconnect with old friends ,” she shares.

Dave also prescribes social work for senior citizens. “This is a good time for those in the age bracket of 50 to 70 to take up social work. There are so many daily-wage workers around us that have families to feed. All the facilities, like groceries and essential delivery, are available, but they don’t have the wherewithal to avail of it. One does not need to physically step out to do this. You can get in touch with NGOs, service providers and other social groups and find out how you can contribute.”

But Dave cautions, “In India, there is a massive problem of over-parenting. Under normal circumstances, parents go out to work and kids get their own time. But the period of home quarantine is different. So, I would urge parents to choose their battles and realise that this is a tough time for their kids. Try to not instruct them too much, and that includes forcing them to spend time with you.”

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