COVID-19 has not just brought an unprecedented situation for the business and the government to function, but it has also brought along undeniable mental stress and lack of hope. The suicide of TV actors Manmeet Grewal and Preksha Mehta show just how brutal these times are when you see jobs being taken, markets crashing down and people suffering from an illness that has got no vaccine yet. India.com got in touch with doctors to find out if this is the worst time to survive for the patients of mental illness and what are the solutions to protect ourselves from feeling depressed and being hopeless. Also Read - Preksha Mehta's Suicide Update: Father Says She Was Upset Over Lockdown And Was Never Pressurised For Marriage

Dr Sunita Dube, a known radiologist and physician agrees that people who are already suffering from anxiety or any other kind of mental illness are most vulnerable in these times. She says, “People who suffer from anxiety, depression, or any sort of mental illness usually live in a state of panic, they already find it very difficult to function normally on a daily basis. COVID-19 has created chaos in the lives of everyone and the people already suffering from any sort of mental illness are most vulnerable in these times. These can be difficult times for all of us as we hear about the spread of COVID-19 from all over the world, through television, social media, family and friends, and other sources. The most common emotion faced by all is ‘fear of positive’. It makes us anxious, panicky, and other problems that we might not consider appropriate under normal circumstances.” Also Read - Preksha Mehta Death: TV Actors Richa Tiwari, Surbhi Chandna, Divya Agarwal, Arjun Bijlani Mourn Crime Patrol Actor’s Demise

Dr Harish Shetty, who’s a known psychiatrist, talks about the pressure that artistes like Preksha or Manmeet face during these times. Both these actors were reportedly depressed and worried about losing out on work during the lockdown and post the COVID-19 period. Dr Shetty says there’s a need of the entire industry to come together for the well being of such people. “More housewives, students, and daily wage laborers die than actors. The artists belong to the same universe and what affects others affects them too. I do not believe that the incidence of suicide is higher among artists than others. Yet it is very sad and I call upon the giants in the industry to form a loose federal group to assist artists in distress. It’s not money they need alone but tools to manage crisis and health,” he explains. Also Read - Preksha Mehta Suicide: Police Recovers Suicide Note, ‘Mere Toote Huye Sapno ne Mere Confidence ka Dam Tod Diya Hai’

Dr Dube asserts that the presence of family members and close friends in one’s life is important during these trying times, more importantly for people with suicidal tendencies or depression issues like Manmeet and Preksha. She says, “Family members or close friends are very important for suicide prevention. They can be involved in many ways. They can help to increase the positivity in a person’s life (that affects) their mental health and they can start reacting to situations in a better way”.

What is the solution? What is it that can work as a formula to keep anxiety and depression at bay in these times? Dr Shetty suggests a combination of various things that bring positivity to our brain. He says apart from taking professional help, which is necessary if you are unable to control your emotions and believe that things are going out of your hand, exercises and meditation can help.

“It is very important to understand the situation in order to deal with it in a better way. Consult a professional if you feel things are getting very difficult to handle. Making time for hobbies, getting regular exercise, Mediation also helps a great deal in increasing mental strength. Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs. The use of tobacco or alcohol or other drugs to cope with emotions or boredom can worsen physical, mental health, and reduce immunity. also at times of anxiety, practice breathing slowly for a few minutes. Try and distance the thoughts which are making you anxious. When feeling angry and irritated, calming your mind, counting back from 10 to 1, distracting yourself it really helps,” he explains.

Note: Dr Sunite Dube is MBBS, MD, DMRE, FRHS, FCCP, DHA, PG.DND, DCH Radiologist. Dr Harish Shetty is MD, Psychiatrist, We Doctors Campaign.