The Kashmir valley is under another lockdown. This time, however, the restrictions extend beyond the Jawahar Tunnel to the plains.
The strict restrictions imposed by the government in the wake of Coronavirus have triggered concerns over mental health. Doctors in Kashmir say they have been receiving a large number of queries about the mental health crises caused by the fear of Coronavirus.
To deal with the abundant frantic calls, the Institue of Mental Health in Kashmir has issued advisories to deal with the paranoia, fear, anxiety, and panic that the current crisis has triggered.
The advisory does not rule out the element of fear. Rather, it says that "fear is as old as the human race and perhaps the only emotion responsible for human survival on earth in presence of danger, death and devastation".
It said that people should have fear in appropriate doses to overcome this crisis as well. However, it said, "when fear is excessive, it becomes disabling.”
“Remind each other of past worse situations from which we emerged unscathed,” the advisory adds.
The advisory calls for reviving talks with neighbours through windows -- provided they are meters away -- solitary walks and reminding regularly oneself that this too shall pass like other devastations in Kashmir.
"Neighbors should continue chatting and socializing through windows (provided that windows are 2 meters apart) as was a norm in yesteryears. Revive the old tradition of ‘Daraev kin darbar’ (talks from windows),” the advisory states.
The advisory has asked people to remain mentally healthy and productive in these difficult times by staying connected in a virtual world through phones and social media.
“You can make groups on various social media platforms, of extended families and friends. Ask about the well-being of each other, but don’t remain stuck with Corona talks.”
The advisory recommends humour to remain mentally healthy.
“Use humour and reassurances liberally. Remind each other of past worse situations from which we emerged unscathed. Smile on video calls; if you’re not able to, force one," the advisory reads.
It also calls for solitary walks. It has, however, asked people to continue to contact the mental health doctors in case of a problem. The doctors can be reached out through WhatsApp and Facebook pages. Several doctors have also given their phone numbers on social media asking people to contact them for queries.
The advisory has asked the elders not to instill fear among the children and rather teach them to survive through the ongoing crisis.
“Don’t make children fearful. Educate them in a way that doesn’t seem the end of the world. When we teach our children how to cross a road, we don’t make them fearful by talking about worst accidents, we just teach them how to be safe,” the advisory says.
“This is the best time to inculcate the habit of book and comic reading and story-telling,” the advisory says,” it asks people.