Counsellors helping people stay sane amid pandemic


Dr Kavya says she gets as many six to seven calls a day from people facing anxiety, panic attacks and nervousness

Hyderabad: Being exposed to news about infections and deaths every single minute of the day has become the norm of the pandemic we live in. It’s not only tiring physically, but also mentally for counsellors whose job is to make sure their clients stay sane.

Dr Kavya C, a trained psychologist who is providing free counselling to people from the State as part of Master Mind Foundation, says there is an overwhelming feeling of helplessness among people. “They are being too hard on themselves. More than anxiety, the foremost fear in their minds is contracting the virus. Many are facing sleepless nights because of this fear. Some suddenly feel anxious while watching the news and get palpitations,” shares Dr Kavya who gets as many six to seven calls a day from people facing anxiety, panic attacks, nervousness, and even harried parents who are in a fix about how to keep their children indoors.

“Children are increasingly frustrated sitting at home for so long, so that is coming out in the forms of tantrums and increased gadget use. We observed a lot of college dropouts too as they are unsure of their future, which is leading to more anxiety,” states Social Counselling Services who gets at least ten calls a day related to Covid-19 from patients, families affected by the virus and those recovering from it.

“A lot of people are dealing with guilt if they are infecting their loved ones by chance. We try and talk them out of it. We got one caller whose fiancée left him when he lost his paid internship due to the pandemic and got married to someone else. With no job prospects and no partner, he went into depression. We spent an hour or two counselling him. With free counselling, we can’t spend more than 45 minutes on one call. But for some cases, we do follow ups too,” says Krishna Mohan Rao who spends two to three hours of his day as a volunteer for Rachakonda Police’s Psycho Social Counselling Services.

The team comprises 11 members who come from counselling backgrounds and field requests from rural areas too. Compared to last year, most counselors say the frequency of calls is significantly higher this time. “I would advise not to think too much about the future and be in the present and develop positive thinking. Stick to a schedule, eat healthy food and get active. Do an activity that makes you happy. There is no use obsessing over what has happened,” suggests Dr Jayanti.


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