A total of 452,081,269 people around the world have so far been infected with Covid-19 during the pandemic of whom 380, 489, 141 people have recovered from the pandemic.
The pandemic also affected interpersonal relationships and caused mental health problems that led to new problems. Suicidal ideation, risky behavioural tendencies, and drug and substance use had led to mental problems in many countries since the Covid-19 outbreak as a majority of the world had to impose lockdowns to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
These views were expressed by the head of the psychology department of the Kabarak University Kenya Dr James Kay while delivering a keynote address during the inaugural session of one-day international conference titled ‘Post-Covid Impact on Mental Health of Millennial: Physical, Social and Educational Challenges’ held at the University of Karachi (KU) on Thursday.
Dr Kay shed light on mental health issues during the pandemic and its influences on financial, health, and family matters of different generations. He observed that psychiatrists from different parts of the world believed that the impacts of Covid-19 were long-lasting and it would take a lot of time to recover from the financial losses.
The chief guest, Senator and Sindh Mental Health Authority President Dr Karim Khawaja, said Covid-19 had affected all walks of life in political, social, and economic spheres. He added that for the first time, psychologists from the KU and University of Sindh had been taken on board regarding a counselling project.
He termed such conferences as the need of the hour. KU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Nasira Khatoon said that the Covid-19 has adversely affected not only human health but also their personality and attitudes.
She said that during the pandemic, we witnessed weaknesses in our healthcare system. There was a dire need to give due attention to the mental health of the people, she added. The conference coordinator, Prof Dr Farah Iqbal, said mental health had been severely affected due to Covid-19.
She shared that 25 speakers and 46 scientific papers and six poster presentations from all over Pakistan and various universities around the world, including the Kabarak University, Kenya; University of Birmingham, United Kingdom; Rutgers University, United States; FATA University; University of Sindh; University of Bahawalpur and others had taken part in the event.
KU Department of Psychology Chairperson Prof Dr Qudsia Tariq elaborated on the research and teaching activities of the department and briefed the participants on the aims and objectives of the conference.
Later, a plenary session was conducted in which experts in the field of mental health shared their papers. Meritorious Professor Dr Mohammad Iqbal Afridi, Dean Faculty of Psychiatry at the College of Physicians and Surgeons Pakistan, highlighted the post-pandemic impacts on physical and mental health and discussed the social, emotional, and physical risk factors.
Dr Mohammad Zeeshan from the Rutgers University discussed the challenges with post-Covid-19 parenting and how parents could cope with these adverse effects by providing effective parenting and guidance strategies.
Dr Asif Khan and Dr Yasmin Khan, clinical psychologists from Chicago, highlighted the social impacts of Covid-19 and shared a paper on the story of hope and despair with regard to Covid respectively.
Dr Erfana Shah from the University of Sindh also addressed the conference and focused on the emerging psychological and educational challenges. Meanwhile, two scientific sessions were also conducted in which 22 research papers were presented by research scholars from different universities. Prof Dr Aneeq Ahmad shared a study on loneliness in old people.