Panaji: The Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing uncertainty continues to negatively affect not just physical health but is also taking a toll on many people’s mental health. A nationwide study conducted by mental health research institute, Sangath, found that even though 95% of the people surveyed are Covid-free, an alarming number of them are suffering from mental illness and have reported moderate use of alcohol and tobacco.
Sangath’s mental health researchers found that 66% of the 732 respondents from Goa, Delhi, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh had moderate levels of stress while 20% reported high levels.
This is worrying researchers who point out that more than a year after the Covid pandemic made its presence felt in India, and despite a nationwide rollout of vaccines, the novel coronavirus continues to be a cause for moderate to high levels of stress and anxiety.
A year long survey that began in July 2020 found that more than half of the respondents, or 68% to be exact, felt that they had moderate to extremely good information regarding Covid-19 and yet had cause to worry.
The pandemic has infected 1.8 lakh people in the state since March 2020 and the virus has claimed 3,297 lives. Goa’s active cases stand at 950 and appear to be inching back towards the four-digit mark.
While the state has seen two waves wreak havoc, the pandemic appears to have hit a trough for the moment. However, Sangath’s survey finds that the toll on mental health has remained worryingly high.
In July 2020, 83% of the survey respondents had reported feeling moderate to high levels of stress, and almost 30% reported symptoms associated with depression. A year later, 86% of the respondents said that have moderate to high levels of stress and 12.6% reported symptoms of anxiety.
As the pandemic wears on and restrictions necessary for public health continue, researchers are trying to trace the link to poor mental health outcomes. The survey already finds that 14% of the respondents have depressive symptoms.
There is, however, a silver lining as the survey found that unlike in early 2020, more than two-thirds of the survey respondents felt in control of their finances, employment and future plans. The social distancing protocols appear to have distanced people from their loved ones, with just 18% feeling confident about their relationship with their partner.


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