Amid a severe COVID-19 second wave, patients deal with survivor’s guilt, trauma from hospitalisation


The second wave of coronavirus took a major toll on people in terms of mental health, even more than the anxiety that was witnessed during the first wave, and the emergence of additional diseases like black fungus is not helping the situation. According to a report in IE, a lot of people are suffering from survivor’s guilt during the second wave, feeling like they have not done enough, Prof Meena Hariharan of University of Hyderabad’s Centre for Health Psychology said. She added that many other people are also not able to deal with the trauma that they faced during hospitalisation. Now, Dr Hariharan and several other mental health experts have joined hands in order to bring back SERV-Me or the Social and Emotional Rehabilitation of Virus Victims & Medical Services.

Several organisations have also decided to join the cause, and on May 19, their free tele-helpline was relaunched for people who might be in need for telemedical services and psychological support, the report said.

Several people who have returned home from hospitalisation are suffering from altered behaviour as they are reminded again of the instances of people dying in the ward, while others who have lost family members feel like they could have done more but did not. It is people like these that SERV-Me aims to help.

Psycho-social counseling can be sought on 040-48214775 between 9 am and 9 pm, while people can seek telemedical services during the same hours on 040-48213272.

The report stated that as many as 2,000 calls have been attended by six medical doctors and 25 psychologists in the past two weeks. However, while a lot of people feel better after having vented out their feelings, that is not where things end. Prof Hariharan said that the problem with telecommunication is that they are not able to watch the person’s body language and so, in order to assess their feelings and the intensity and seriousness of the situation, they have to rely on non-verbal cues based on hearing which makes it harder.

The guidance ranges from managing the time and routine to asking people to have another session within a few days, because the idea is to get these people to help themselves as they are the ones who need to manage how they feel, Prof Hariharan said. This means reduction of free time that these people have, as that can lead them to imagine things that could cause anxiety and trigger them.

The report also stated that in many instances, the lack of guidance regarding proper homecare of a patient suffering from COVID-19 is also a cause for agony and anxiety, which is why doctors handling SERV-Me have also been guiding families on ways to take care of patients. Moreover, the doctors also provide information regarding hospital beds, ambulances and oxygen based on updated and verified information.

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