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Ziqitza Healthcare emphasizes increased investment in Mental Health

Updated on: 10 October,2020 03:40 PM IST  |  Mumbai
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For us at Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd, as an Emergency Service Provider, we are at the forefront with the various state governments and corporates to ensure that our services which are so critical are not hampered at all.

Ziqitza Healthcare emphasizes increased investment in Mental Health

Ziqitza Healthcare

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10th October every year. The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has posed many challenges. Issues such as fear of contracting the disease, fear of death, extended lockdowns, working from home, fear of losing jobs, uncertainty, personal finances etc. are having an adverse impact on the mental health of a person in particular and society in general. Therefore, the theme for 2020 for the Mental Health Day is aptly chosen as “Increased Investment in Mental Health”.

For us at Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd, as an Emergency Service Provider, we are at the forefront with the various state governments and corporates to ensure that our services which are so critical are not hampered at all. This has been possible due to commitment and resilience of our employees, franchise partners and support from our vendors. The Crew, CDC, regional and head office staff are working tirelessly with the government in making continuous arrangements for safe and efficient delivery of the emergency 108 ambulance services. The lockdown has been a very important strategy to deal with the pandemic. Our lives as we've known it has been turned upside down, and working under the current scenario may not seem like the best option.

People seek medical attention when they have physical symptoms such as fever, cough or pain. However, when any mental symptom is experienced frequently, it is neglected and interpreted as a part of routine stresses and strains. Seeking help of a psychiatrist is considered a taboo and the patient is stigmatized.

It is important to realize that as any other physical disease, mental disorders are separate entities. They exhibit set of definite symptoms and signs and can be recognized by trained healthcare professional. They need proper investigations and can be treated with medicines and other therapies. What is required is awareness, patience and medical intervention by qualified professionals.

A mental or behavioural disorder is characterized by a disturbance in thinking, mood, or behaviour, which is out of keeping with cultural beliefs and norms. In most cases that comes to 104 Medical Helpline operated by Ziqitza Healthcare Ltd, the symptoms are associated with distress and interference with personal functions. Few of mental disorders may include: Physical symptoms (e.g. aches and sleep disturbance), Emotional symptoms (e.g. feeling sad, scared, or anxious), Cognitive symptoms (e.g. difficulty thinking clearly, abnormal beliefs, memory disturbance), Behavioural symptoms (e.g. behaving in an aggressive manner, inability to perform routine daily functions, excessive use of substances) and Perceptual symptoms (e.g. seeing or hearing things that others cannot).

According to World Health Organization, close to one billion people have a mental disorder and anyone, anywhere, can be affected. Suicide is claiming the lives of close to 800000 people every year, 1 person every 40 seconds, and is the second leading cause of death for young people aged between 15-29 years. Depression is one of the leading causes of illness and disability among adolescents and adults

We at Ziqitza believe that dealing with Mental Health Disorder first requires awareness & acceptance of the same. The person should be referred to a professional such as physician, counsellor or psychiatrist. Diagnosis can be made by a detailed medical history taking, physical examination and investigations. Any physical disease causing the symptoms has to be ruled out. Medical treatment mainly consists of psychotherapy and medication. Psychotherapy, or "talk therapy", is a way to treat people with a mental disorder by helping them understand their illness. It teaches people strategies and gives them tools to deal with stress and unhealthy thoughts and behaviours. Sometimes psychotherapy alone may be the best treatment for a person, depending on the illness and its severity. Other times, psychotherapy is combined with medications. The health professional generally work with an individual or families to devise an appropriate treatment plan.

At Ziqitza medical helplines we recommend our callers/ patients to adopt healthy life style measures which will hasten the recovery. Refraining from alcohol, smoking, tobacco and other addictive substances will also help. The patient should be followed up regularly and patient or family should not stop treatment without medical advice.

It is imperative that we should consider investing in Mental Health. As per W.H.O. estimates, the lost productivity resulting from depression and anxiety, two of the most common mental disorders, costs the global economy US$ 1 trillion each year. In low- and middle-income countries, more than 75% of people with mental health conditions receive no treatment for their condition at all. For every US$ 1 invested in scaled-up treatment for depression and anxiety, there is a return of US$ 5.For every US$ 1 invested in evidence-based treatment for drug dependence, there is a return of up to US$ 7 in reduced crime and criminal justice costs. Therefore, it makes sense for all stakeholders to invest in mental health apart from humanitarian considerations.

Concerted efforts of all stakeholders viz. Governments, Hospitals and Health care professionals, Corporates, N.G.O.s, Educational institutions, Citizen groups etc. are required to bring down the sufferings and economic burden of mental illnesses. The measures may include creating awareness, training more mental health professionals, making the mental health services easily accessible for all, making appropriate laws to prevent stigmatisation and discrimination of a mentally ill person, stringent rules for alcohol consumption and narcotics abuse, preventing discrimination at workplace, removing stigma attached to mental illnesses etc. An individual is also a very important stakeholder. Physical and mental health are two sides of the same coin. An individual can promote positive health by adopting healthy life style measures such as adequate sleep, nutritious diet, regular physical exercise, keeping weight, blood pressure and blood sugar under control, refraining from alcohol, tobacco, and other addictive substances, stress management and practising yoga, meditation and relaxation techniques.

In the current pandemic times, managing mental health issues during COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge as well as an opportunity. I and other medical professionals at Ziqitza Healthcare feel there are no readymade answers and solutions as every individual is unique and had unique set of problems. I can only suggest few of the general measures people can follow:-

  • Stay positive. Remember that COVID-19 is a very mild disease for many and recovery rate is high
  • Follow all precautions for prevention so that chances of contracting COVID-19 disease are very low
  • Sleep well. Have nutritious homemade cooked food. Avoid junk food.
  • Keep your weight, blood pressure and blood sugar under control
  • Exercise regularly and be physical active by doing household work
  • Refrain from alcohol, smoking, tobacco and other addictive substances
  • Minimize use of electronic gadgets. Spend time with your family.
  • Practice simple yoga exercises, meditation and relaxation
  • Utilize this opportunity to reconnect with you near and dear ones and change your unhealthy lifestyle
  • Start investing wisely and avoid wasteful expenditure
  • If you are working from home, prepare a schedule and stick to it as far as possible
  • Do not hesitate to take professional help if needed

The future we see ahead is a future which is bright with optimism. Every time the world has faced a challenge, humanity has come through better than it was before. The world and all of us in it will recover from this. People will bounce back with love, strength and compassion. And maybe a new realization of what the true meaning of life is. The good is that people now feel that they can identify the mental health symptoms and are open to seek help from professionals. This will only get better with time when speaking about mental health will no longer be a stigma but a healthy discussion for an optimistic future

About Ziqitza Healthcare Limited:
Ziqitza had been set up with a vision to assist in saving human lives by providing a leading network of fully equipped Advanced and Basic Life Support Ambulances across the developing world. Ziqitza has currently more than 10,000 people working tirelessly, day and night, to serve people in India. Ziqitza Limited is currently operating more than 3300 ambulances across 16 states and has served more than 28 million people till date. Ziqitza Rajasthan wishes happy mental health on World Mental Health Day 2020.

Authored By
Dr. Santosh Datar is Medical Director of Ziqitza Healthcare Limited. He is an Occupational Health Consultant, Trainer and Auditor. He is a certified instructor of American Heart Association in Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS). He has conducted several training sessions on First Aid, BLS, ACLS, Employee well-being and Occupational Health. He has also contributed several articles on health issues.

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