COVID-19 pandemic soon apparently proved to be havoc and a great stressor. During such a stressful time, mental health is in threat. Here, we intend to review the presenting problems/ symptoms as shared in psychiatry helpline of a Teaching Hospital in eastern Nepal during the second week of lockdown and to reflect on to emotional, including mood problems.
It is an institute based period observation noted for all psychiatry helpline calls during 1 week of lockdown days of COVID-19. Their concerns and problems were listened and symptoms clarified by a consultant psychiatrist to help them as far as possible through the telephonic conversation. Maintaining the confidentiality, basic information were noted down in a semi-structured proforma to record certain socio-demographic and clinical information (including mood and other emotional symptoms).
We received 102 helpline calls of 60 clients for psychiatry in 1 week, from 14 districts. More patients being discussed were males (35/60), average age being 34.15 (15 - 70) years. More patients were regular follow-up cases with some new issues (24/60) and 18/60 each were new clients and regular follow-up cases. Majority had exacerbated symptoms in the wake of COVID-19 as: emotional (47/60; mood 24/60, anxiety/worry 23/60) symptoms along with disturbed sleep (32/60); treatment/service issues (31/60) and changed routines. Most common mental problems were Bipolar affective disorder, Psychosis, Anxiety and Depression and advices included Antipsychotics, Benzodiazepines, Antidepressants, along with some Psycho-education. Most common concerns were about OPD service, worsening symptoms and local unavailability of medicines. Many had mood and emotional symptoms in this stressful time, both simple amenable to telephonic advices and severe requiring to be called to emergency service.