Studies from Wuhan and Australia showed high levels of depression in communities with high infection rates among frontline healthcare workers and individuals. In addition to isolation, such anticipatory stress and anxiety may not only impact mental wellbeing, but also contribute to a decrease in the standard of lifestyles and, eventually, one’s health choices. A known risk factor for sleep disorders and eating disorders is depression.
However by virtue of its social framework, India also offers a range of personal and social tools that help cope with such crises. Family is one such essential resource, and being in constant communication with relatives, either in real life or remotely via social media or the Internet, greatly alleviates stress.
In addition, there are many factors which operate at an individual level, such as the kind of job (menial, farming, semi-skilled, skilled, office workers and managers, and professional workers), the availability of material resources if required, and the psychological make-up of the individual (resilience, coping, and optimism).
In fact, the extended time spent with family members, free of the stress of normal working and school days, may well have strengthened family bonds and restored balance to life, leading to an actual improvement in the quality of life during the lockdown.
Of course, the opposite situation prevails with those who do not get along well with their families, inducing more conflict and promoting poorer outcomes during this period.