Title.“Mental health in coronavirus with special emphasis on children and guidelines for adults”

Program; Media and Democracy

Host:     I am your host Fahad Abbasi from Power99 with the program Media and Democracy. Today in the program Media and Democracy we will discuss Corona and our lives. How forms the beginning of Corona till now our lives especially children and parents are affected. We will have experts to discuss this so keep listening to the program Corona and our lives. How form the beginning of Corona tills now our lives especially children and parents are affected. We will have experts to discuss this so keep listening to the program

Welcome back after the break, before going to the break we talked about the segment we have after the break, in which we have a series of programs only on  Power Radio FM 99. We will talk about “Corona aur Humari Zindagiyan”

Corona when it was at its peak and until now, what effects did it has on our health and on our mental health. If talk about parents, our mothers and especially children. In today’s topic, we will talk about, mental health in coronavirus with special emphasis on the children, how it affected the children, and what impact did it have on them. To discuss this topic we have Dr. Bashir Shah in our studio. He is a clinical psychologist and only a professional psychologist can tell us how child psychology and human psychology got affected during corona.


Host:  AOA, Dr. Bashir. How are you? Are you okay?




Host:  I am good. Thank you so much for coming to our program and giving us time to talk about a very important topic with us and our listeners. First of all, let’s go straight to the topic and talk about, the mental health of people during corona especially parents, and what mental health and psychological issues did they face. Your take?


Dr. Bashir:  The normal life of all the people, parents, and children’s daily routine during corona got disturbed. And if I say maybe parents and children got disturbed the most, that won’t be wrong. In this segment of society, you all must know that education was disrupted as face-to-face learning got converted into online learning. Technology showed a classical gap and inequalities obviously, not all people are familiar with technology, and now if you see all schools in Baluchistan or Pakhtunkhwa and even in Punjab and Sindh how would have they taught primary schools online? It was technically impossible for courses to remain the same due to that studies were disturbed plus obviously, if we talk about the normal life and routine of every other home, kids wake up in the morning and go to school and come back around 2  to 2:30 pm, husbands go for the job and return back home around 5-6 pm but that changed in the time of corona, especially in its first and second wave, people got trapped inside of their homes, as in they stopped going out and got restricted. Even now due to covid-19 there are so many restrictions going on like smart lockdowns while I’m talking to you. So obviously because of all of this is increased a lot of stress, people got worried, and their stress levels increased. And along with this, it had a lot more other consequences like children’s education got disturbed and obviously peoples earning also got disturbed. And similarly how women had some space in their homes, for relief and how and when to do their home chores got entirely overturned due to which the mental strain on everyone was increasingly disturbed in almost all segments of society, especially on parents and children.


Host: Thank you, Dr. Saab. For telling us about all walks of life and especially housewives how stressful this pandemic and induced anxiety was for them but now tell us more about children and how much their mental health was affected.


Dr. Bashir:  In the first phase when the covid-19 wave was at its peak, World Health Organization sent guidelines and I got the chance to translate them. The guidelines were that the corona falls out on children by inducing anxiety or stress tendency. Schooling is not only about books and pencils but there they study and play with other children. when it got disrupted and children were living in isolation and there were spacing problems as mostly all houses are not big enough people live in small houses, portions or flats even in villages all houses are not quite big so the spacing was the big issue and mode of education was changed too, even if middle-class families children were able to have online education but they still face problems as the quick adjustment is very difficult unless you become habitual to this changing environment. The guidelines were about how to release stress when your normal life is disturbed and how you have to accommodate yourself to the spacing problem. While you are in school you are not under parents’ strictness and there you get relief time while playing with peers. .now when you are not in school and spending most of the time with gadgets and video games especially most of them have china mobile so there is no physical activity as that was already restricted due to space issue. Mostly


Covid period was a hard time for parents and they tried to entertain children to keep them busy but the guidelines were to do some artwork that was not easy do singing or have dialogues with friends on video calls. I gave suggestions that mobile companies should offer some special packages that may be more engaging channels or content or free calls so that people can stay in contact with their loved ones and share things easily.

Dr. Bashir further said that during Corona I had a child patient who got mute. His whole family even friends were trying but there was no progress infect he went undertone. When we involved him in some play activities at home and send him to visit his friends and his friends started visiting him . after some time his stress was released and he started communicating.


Host: Doctor now here we want to discuss some people who suffered Corona and tested positive even in my own family and friends circle a lot of negativity and myths were started and most of the people became fearful or suffered from depression they had quarantine, self-medication and recovered to get out of it but there routine life suffered a lot and they faced problem to go to the routine life. I am sure you have met some patients who were afraid after recovery. Was it depression or what are the challenges or difficulties that they were not able to get out of it even after recovery and how we can prevent this


Dr. Bashir:  when there is trauma as it was a pandemic across the world and people are affected, factual health information is important. The first thing for the doctor or psychologist is to give them factual health information that what has happened to him and he will tell them symptoms the second part of the question is it possible that after trauma people go back to their normal life?. Can we undo trauma?  I can say that its 100 percent not possible and it’s not that simple as they will have some effects, most the people still think is there pandemic or not while millions of people are dying,  here the role of media and social media is very important to work on these conspiracy theories and give factual information and that this not only happens with you but other people are suffering too .maybe there are some success stories on how some people recovered and it can give them some motivations   like  others jobs or businesses suffered tend things are not normal for them too and when we give this information it can decrease the negative impact that we are not the only one who has suffered


Host: Dr. Here we can talk about the mothers, especially because during this period she has to take care of everyone, her children’s health especially when they get sick… Are there any steps taken for those mothers? If yes then how many small or big measures are taken for them?


As I am talking about mental health and for that online counseling services are introduced and I want to share that people here are not too familiar with online services, and people don’t take telehealth seriously but now it is getting popularity during corona. In our families, the home care burden on women increased trifold during Corona and maybe very few have realized that during corona their responsibilities have increased and that they need more relief, care, and rest. As a result frustration and domestic violence increased and it has been proved in the research.


Different programs are devised in Europe, America, and Asia, and WHO has given guidelines. I want to say that there is a need to improve health information guidelines in our country and to spread maximum information secondly we have to guide patients to consult doctors and to trust doctor’s guidelines and don’t believe in random WhatsApp messages, social media, or other unauthentic sources because it has created a lot of barriers in the recovery process and it’s still continuing. Our literate and youth population need to spread virologists and doctor’s authentic information to others rather than information from the sources that are creating hurdles

Host: And that’s why people are not taking vaccines

Dr. Bashir:   yes and I guess only 30 percent population is vaccinated till now Even they are not going for booster shots. As you know every medicine has some side effects and Doctors have to inform but still most the people believe in other sources of information and complain as a result they don’t go for it. By believing in scientific principles and doctor’s advice we can handle it and we have to prepare ourselves for the future because it’s not the first or the last pandemic it will come in the future too

Host:  Very well said Dr as today we are talking about Corona and Our Lives. Dr as we have discussed most of the issues and different age groups from elders to children. Now can you tell us how people can take care of their mental health and how to prevent psychological diseases, especially during pandemics? What will happen if during this fifth wave government again announces a lockdown whereas the selected school is going to close?

Dr. Bashir; I think when you face the same situation again and again your natural defense mechanism develops to cope with it, Do you remember during the first wave people were so afraid

Host:  oh yes there was fear everywhere

Dr. Bashir: yes and they were so fearful that even the death rates were not more than 150 even then there were announcements from the mosques but after that people are not taking care and serious even there are so many deaths

Host; yes it’s still happening and people are taking it lightly so do you think we are now immune to it

Dr. Bashir: for health issues until and unless you will not consult medical help or a psychologist then after a certain level the problem will not be resolved. Medical help is very important. The government should be sensitive to people and increase access to health information. Though there are online counseling services available in all provinces people don’t use them. The reason is that they don’t value this. People are least bothered to infect it is not the priority. Mostly only people who are working and facing mental health issues due to financial loss or parents whose children’s education is disturbed and they have a long life ahead come to us otherwise people don’t consider it important. Actually, mental health is very basic and it can disturb the whole life.

Host: if we talk about the national level is there any policy or program for the children with disabilities during pandemics, children with psychological issues, or autistic

Dr.Bashir:  in the context of COVID mostly children were isolated and most of the special education institutions were close and in that case their teachers or parents have to provide counseling. Guidelines were distributed in all these institutions. As a result, only those survived who adopted them

Host:  thank you Dr. Sahib for your input 

Host: Now we have our correspondent Riaz Messen talking to Dr. Khalid Mufti, a renowned psychiatrist, and head of Horizon, an NGO working for the rehabilitation of mental illness, explained the symptoms that parents should look out for and recommended ways to help them cope with the uncertainties brought by the pandemic.


Host:  What message you will like to give to parents, especially for children with special needs or children who became more aggressive or mute 


Dr. Mufti:  in certain cases, the most visible impact on children was irritability whereby they could not understand the utility and importance of preventive measures that kept them away from close relatives affected by the virus. “Coronavirus triggered behavioral problems among kids whereby they unusually cry and become hyperactive and brought anxieties for school going children”, However, children living in spacious houses, and villages are already living in the distant areas away from the concentrated population were least affected.


Host: Sir if we talk about displaced families what kind of effects you have seen among children or any special information in your knowledge

Dr. Mufti:  Somehow our displaced families especially in Bajor or Waziristan areas the cases were not too much visible or even for children either they were least visible or not reported and government figures also showed very less number among them


Host: Thank you very much for your input. This was Dr. Mufti a renowned psychiatrist, with us .now. I ask for your permission to leave, Take good care of yourself Goodbye.


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