New Delhi: The Central government has issued guidelines on Sunday stating that there should be a provision for psychiatric consultation on COVID-19 facilities matters, in anticipation of existing and new lifestyle restrictions and the uncertain future that pandemic has triggered mental health concerns.
Citing there are at least three groups affected by mental health concerns during the pandemic the Union Health Ministry on Sunday issued ‘Guidelines on Managing Mental Illness in Hospital Settings during COVID-19’.
Research suggests that depression (present in about 30 per cent of diagnosed patients) and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (almost everybody diagnosed with COVID-19 –96 per cent) could be extremely high.
The research highlighted that pre-existent patients with psychiatric disorders may experience a recurrence or worsening of their symptoms during the pandemic.
A wide variety of psychiatric symptoms, including anxiety (ranging from mild to severe), worries, non-specific psychological distress, depression, stress symptoms, insomnia, hallucinations, paranoid and suicidal ideation, have been noted during the pandemic, the research noted.
“Therefore, there is a need for specific guidelines for medical officers and mental health professionals on how to prevent the infection and provide COVID-19-related care in hospital-based settings,” said in the guidelines.
In addition, worries related to the restriction of lifestyles, issues related to special populations including children and adolescents, job losses and uncertainty about the future, increase in domestic violence and child abuse have also been reported.
The guidelines suggests a COVID-19 facility should have a facility for consultation with a psychiatrist either in person or by tele-consultation, while admitting a person with mental illness, and at no point should any psychotropic medication be stopped abruptly without a psychiatrist’s advice, unless in case of a life-threatening emergency.