COVID-19 and Mental Health
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown, Mind Specialists has worked from creating and sharing resources for individuals to maintain their mental well-being, to organizing webinars and virtual events for individuals, institutions and organizations to equip them with practical tips on navigating through their mind during the COVID-19 situation.
The initiatives undertaken by RAHAT, primarily undertaken through our online initiative called Mind Specialists, have been primarily divided in four categories – Media Production, Digital Initiatives, Research and Collaborations.
The videos produced during the pandemic have focused on a holistic approach to mental health and well-being, ranging from understanding Anxiety and apprehensions for the future to maintaining one’s well-being during these trying times. The videos, as a package, provide the viewers with a holistic and practical approach to tackle the issues of their mind that have stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The website is a plethora of reliable and credible resources on mental health. Keeping its objective in mind, a special page was created on the website, dedicated to Mental Health and COVID-19, primarily focusing on how to maintain mental well-being during the pandemic. Resources such as videos, infographics, secondary sources in the form of videos, articles and blogs on COVID-19 and Mental Health (from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, World Health Organization and other such institutions and organizations) were shared on this page.
With this, RAHAT engaged with its audience on social media platforms to provide them with information as well as a platform to talk about the mental health issues they are facing, that have stemmed from the COVID-19 pandemic. The social media channels also acted as a place where people shared their self-care practices as well as their learnings during the lockdown. This led to the initiation of a social media LIVE session called ‘Mind Talks’, where the audience could interact with Dr. Avdesh Sharma and Dr. Sujatha D. Sharma to talk about various issues they were facing during the pandemic as well as seek strategies for helping themselves cope with those problems.
In a technical collaboration with INTAS Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Mind Specialists had organized a webinar on ‘Building Emotional Resilience’ on 19th April 2020, featuring world renowned motivational speaker Sister BK Shivani and the Co-founder of Mind Specialists, Dr. Avdesh Sharma.
The webinar was the unique amalgamation of psychological and spiritual perspectives and principles, followed by meditation for Building Emotional Resilience. The webinar, with more than 35,000* views, focused on involving principles of psycho-spirituality into one’s lifestyle so as to address and cope up with the psychological distress and mental health issues that one faces, especially in the times of the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a change in the lives of people. But if we look at the life of adolescents, the pandemic and the resultant lockdown has made it especially difficult for them, expected to affect them both physically and mentally.
Apart from the anxiety and apprehensions related to the future, the sudden change in their environment and changing family dynamics can be a cause of mental health issues in adolescents. With this, increase use of digital device usage, be it social media, gaming or for any other leisure activity, can lead to digital dependence or addiction in the people in this age.
Towards this end, Mind Specialists undertook a research in the month of June 2020 to understand and analyze the Impacts of COVID-19 on the Mental Health of Adolescents. The research aimed to assess the experiences & implications of the pandemic on adolescents mental health and analyze the change in the trends. To read more, click here.
Collaborations and Partnerships
RAHAT had collaborated with organizations and initiatives so as to reach maximum number of people and help them cope with their mental health issues. Collaboration with Cyber Peace Foundation in April 2020 for an interactive podcast-based Q&A and with Flip Your Soch for organizing Chatathon 2.0 to encourage people to share their hearts out about their mental health, by creating a safe space and a meticulous environment in July 2020 are some of the examples.
With this, RAHAT was also a resource partner for webinars and events. Dr. Avdesh Sharma and Dr. Sujatha D. Sharma have represented RAHAT as resource partners in various platforms and with multiple organizations.
These include National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), Brahma Kumaris, Ten News LIVE, Hope and Strength Initiative (by NS Mittal and Manju Mittal Charitable Trust), Practice, Central Square Foundation, Chennai Psychiatric Society, Chettinad Academy, Brahma Kumaris, Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIPU), Power of Sakash, among others. The issues covered include healing relationships, conflict resolution, parenting during COVID-19, cyber safety and mental health, mental health concerns of elderly, body shaming, building emotional resilience, managing and coping with mental health issues during COVID-19, maintaining mental well-being during the pandemic, healing minds and psycho-spirituality.
Initiatives during COVID-19 covered in Media
The resources created by Mind Specialists (initiative under RAHAT Charitable Trust) for COVID-19 and mental health are featured on the World Psychiatric Association’s (WPA) trusted library of resources on their website, being placed with eminent organizations such as World Health Organization (WHO), John Hopkins University, European Psychiatric Association, World Economic Forum (WEF), The Lancet, Elsevier and others. Mind Specialists is one of the three initiatives in the list from India, i.e., in addition to distinguished organizations like the Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) and National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS).
With this, the initiatives have also been featured on various television and radio programs including the ones from Doordarshan (DD) News, Awakening TV, All India Radio (AIR), BIG FM (94.3 FM) in Delhi, Radio City (91.1 FM) in Delhi, 106.4 FM in Ranchi, Jabalpur, Patiala, Shimla, Hisar Karnal, Dhule, Jalgaon, Ahemadnagar and Muzafferpur, Radio Chocolate in Orissa, Radio Dhamaal, Radio Jodhpur (93.5 FM), among others.
RAHAT’s initiative Mind Specialsits was featured in articles in newspapers and e-magazine such as in Dainik Bhaskar, Mens XP, among others.