The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of a new corona virus disease, COVID-19, to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern during January 2020. WHO formally declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on 11 March 2020.The corona virus pandemic has led to a huge health and economic burden throughout the world. The nationwide lockdown was aimed at breaking the chain and flattening the curve. This later on started causing widespread concerns, fear and stress in the population at large and among certain vulnerable groups in particular, such as older adults, caregivers and people with underlying health conditions. It is important to ensure physical distancing and not social isolation and to stay connected through social media, telephone.
This COVID 19 also created a lot of social stigma among those who were infected, isolated, quarantined and health care workers. Thus many efforts were initiated towards avoiding social stigma among public by creating awareness in the form of videos, posters, IVRS message, sms etc.
The department of Mental Health Education is working towards creating mental health awareness and improving mental health literacy since inception. This special issue on COVID 19 and mental health was aimed to help the scientific community in creating awareness about the importance of mental health during COVID crisis and ways to take care of their minds. The mental well being plays a major role especially among the frontline warriors such as health care workers, police personnel, sanitary workers who are at higher risk of acquiring the virus. Various government help lines can provide support, it’s important to have a regular daily routine, keeping engaged and positive.
This edition comprises of various IEC materials developed to ensure mental well being among different categories of people. The department also hosted a social media campaign “Mental health warriors” where the people sent a short video of how they are taking care of their mental health while being at home.
I thank our fellows, reviewers and the entire technical team at the department in helping us bring out this edition in a short span of time.
1.‘Joint COVID-19 Taskforce’. Second joint statement of the IPHA, IAPSM and IAE- Public health approach for COVID-19 pandemic control in India. Indian J Public Health 2020;64:S84-
Deputy Editor, Journal of Mental Health Education 1Assistant Professor, Department of Mental Health Education, NIMHANS, Bengaluru