Mental health cases increase two-fold among young adults, experts reveal

Updated on Sep 02, 2021 02:17 AM IST  |  118.1K
   
mental health illnesses among young adults
Young adults falling prey to mental health disorders
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You wake up in the middle of the night only to find your child up and playing games. This continues all night. The result? He sleeps all day. His sleep, health, studies and social life has all gone for a toss. This is not a movie scene that we are talking about, it is as real as it can be and many parents can’t relate more to it.

All thanks to the unending pandemic that has created ripples in the lives of children and young adults. Being locked behind closed doors and attending online classes throughout the day, has left them with no other option but to take to playing games and surfing the internet. This increased screen time and very less or no physical activity has exposed young adults to mental health illnesses. Doctors at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals have carried out a study which finds out that cases of mental health illness among them have increased two-fold.

Dr Sandeep Vohra, Senior Consultant, Mental Health & Psychiatry, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi, tells you that before the pandemic all the cases that he used to get was related to mobile phones or gaming addiction, but now it is more about anxiety disorders and depression among the school and college goers.

“I have done an emotional screening of about 200 college going young adults and the results are shocking. The dynamics have changed drastically for students. On one hand, they have the fear of catching infection and on the other they fear missing out on all the important things in life, including academics. With reduced social life and increased screen time, a child has ended up in a chaotic lifestyle,” says Vohra.

He adds that usually, parents don’t mind their child using the mobile phone for long hours thinking that the child is studying. “However, this leads to erratic sleep cycles, eye pain and often children end up caught in a web of deceit by the opposite gender,” explains Vohra.

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This is not all. Now that the schools have reopened, children have to go through a different kind of struggle altogether. Following COVID appropriate behaviour all the time, not letting the guard down and maintaining a six-feet distance with their friends whom they are meeting after more than a year has thrown a curveball at the students.

This, he says, calls for immediate attention. Parents have to be on their toes and make sure that their child is following a proper routine. “Apart from that, we need to realize that mental health should be our top priority. Mental health screenings should be done regularly in schools and colleges. Parents should hold dialogues, not monologue that often most parents indulge in, with their child. This will allow the child to open up,” he opines.

Also, we need to counsel parents, too. “I always try to hold counselling sessions with both parents and children, so that parents know what is happening to their child. There are parents who drop out of the treatment in between, but there are only about 10 percent, the rest of them co-operate,” he says.

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Why not come up with a dedicated mental health counselling infrastructure at schools and colleges, you ask? Vohra is quick to answer though it is extremely important, this is one thing that is not possible. “Every school loves to live in a bubble where everything is fine and every student is happy. However, this can’t be true. In order, to come up with such infrastructure it is important for schools and colleges to accept the fact that things can go wrong. We have to destigmatize mental health and be courageous enough to talk about it,” says Vohra.

Not only parents and schools, but the Government too has to step in to address and solve the issue. “The budget allocated to mental health is laughable. Everything sounds good on paper, but the real job is to implement it properly. So, the first one should have a budget. Second, proper resources and third, the will and desire to implement it. All three are missing in our country,” says Vohra.

Warning signs to look out for

  1. If your child has suddenly turned silent, it is possible that s/he is suffering from a mental health illness.
  2. If you see any behavioural changes, consult a mental health expert.
  3. If your child sleeps for too long, or doesn’t sleep at all, something might be going on in his mind.
  4. Anger, aggressive behaviour and frequent irritability, again are all red flags one should not ignore.

Read Also: How can teachers cope with virtual fatigue? Expert opines with 10 easy tips

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