National Doctor’s Day: Tackling mental health while treating people amid COVID-19 pandemic


New Delhi: After over three months of being in the crosshairs of the Covid-19 pandemic, the crisis has become a definite test for one`s mental health. Treating COVID-19 patients at proximity, watching the disease claim the lives of people – it only takes a second of thought to realise how much doctors around the globe have put their own life in jeopardy and how the situation can take a toll on their mental health. 

However, to understand more about how the doctors are coping with the situation in detail, ANI spoke to a few health care professionals who like many other experts are on working relentlessly to save people`s life amid the pandemic. 

Apart from seeking help from family and friends, Dr Gauri Aggarwal, Infertility and IVF Specialist, Founder of Seeds of Innocence and Genestrings Lab, ensures that she takes “small breaks in between and a stroll inside the corridor of the hospital” to unwind, while taking care to adhere to all public health protocols. 

“Moreover, we have a highly motivated team. That is the one thing that makes these tough times enjoyable,” Dr Aggarwal added. COVID-19 has revealed situations that are unforeseen and unusual, even for doctors. Such exposure to new, yet vulnerable condition, that calls for a constant need to be aware of the latest medical advances and medical procedures are certainly adding to doctors` mental pressure. 

“We get various patients with several other co-morbidities and we must be extra cautious when we prescribe medicines to them after considering all the health conditions. At times, it pushes us to our limits. Also, the highly infectious disease has made us revisit our working protocols – for example, deliveries continue even in the lockdown and we have to revamp our standard protocol to add safety measures. This was challenging initially – we are used to interacting with new mothers personally – now, our touch is layered in gloves, and our faces covered with PPE,” Dr Aggarwal said.

Regardless of the workload, almost every day is stressful when it comes to keeping up with the latest medical updates, and also the job becomes tougher when the public are being careless and not following proper hygiene and social distancing protocols, said Dr P Hanumantha Rao – Senior Consultant Orthopaedic, Apollo TeleHealth. 

“I try to focus on doing things with care and detail, and that in itself helps deal with the stress. Indoor exercises like yoga and running on the treadmill help me improve my mood and sleep quality,” Dr Rao said while explaining ways to tackle the mental pressure amid these trying times. Dr Rao also tries to stay in touch with the family even during duty, as the doctor says, “making sure they are alright is something that helps me get through the day.

“However, to maintain the “calm and composure” in front of patients, Dr Rao says he has to make conscious efforts. “Letting them know you are stressed will make them more worried, which will, in turn, add to your stress. So that is something I consciously avoid,” the doctor said. 

Apart from the rising number of COVID cases, and the fear of contracting the disease, one another condition that adds to doctor`s exhaustion is wearing the preventive requirements, including PPE kits and other necessary precautions, said Dr Gaurav Maheshwari, Chief Surgical Gastroenterologist, Paras Hospitals, Panchkula. 

Doctors across the globe are voluntarily isolating themselves from their dear ones to avoid the danger of spreading coronavirus. However, Dr Gaurav Maheshwari says: “isolation is difficult, but it is an essential practice. We must try to shield the vulnerable family members like the elderly and people with comorbidities.”

Practising mind-calming exercises such as meditation, mindfulness, and yoga are some of the key measures Dr Maheshwari tries to adopt to avoid stress during such unprecedented times. COVID-19 pandemic has kept the world in a tough, yet, required lesson about staying mindful of health and hygienic practices.

Doctors, along with other frontline warriors are relentlessly serving the nation to put a halt to the spreading virus. On National Doctor`s Day (July 1), we are bound to honour every selfless doctor and extend our contribution to shifting the narrative by bringing more number of recovery rates during the pandemic.





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