|LETTER TO EDITOR
|Year : 2022 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 89-90
Mental health issues among Indian women during the COVID-19 pandemic driven lockdown
Sahanaa Chandar, Abhilasha Nair
Department of Community Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Puducherry, India
|Date of Submission||03-Dec-2021|
|Date of Decision||31-Jan-2022|
|Date of Acceptance||01-Feb-2022|
|Date of Web Publication||28-Apr-2022|
Dr. Abhilasha Nair
Department of Community Medicine, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Ganapathichettikulam, Puducherry - 605 014
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Chandar S, Nair A. Mental health issues among Indian women during the COVID-19 pandemic driven lockdown. J Curr Res Sci Med 2022;8:89-90
|How to cite this URL:|
Chandar S, Nair A. Mental health issues among Indian women during the COVID-19 pandemic driven lockdown. J Curr Res Sci Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Aug 16];8:89-90. Available from: https://www.jcrsmed.org/text.asp?2022/8/1/0/344197
One of the most widely practised preventive measures during the COVID-19 pandemic was a nationwide lockdown across the globe. India is one such country, which imposed a lockdown on March 25, 2020. This pandemic-driven lockdown has impacted everyone globally. However, women have been affected very differently around the world, the reasons for which are numerous. Some of the reasons for the greater vulnerability of women to mental health issues are multiple roles they have to play in their lives, the extra burden of care due to work from home and financial constraints. We wish to throw light on the mental health problems faced during the pandemic-driven lockdown by the women population in India.
Based on the National Commission for Women report, there was a rapid rise in complaints of domestic violence cases during the lockdown, however, the instances were not actively reported. Stress, the disruption of social and protective networks, and decreased access to services all can exacerbate the risk of violence for women. In a survey conducted in May 2020 (during the lockdown) at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Raipur, the rate of current spousal violence was found to be 18.1%. Predictably, restrictions (such as social isolation leading to more time spent in close contact) and disruption of jobs and livelihoods were the foremost perceived reasons by the victims.
In technology-enabled sectors, work from home concept which was initially welcoming among employees later turned out to be very depressing due to lack of interpersonal connection, lack of belongingness with the organization, and isolation. In this scenario, women are required to do 'all' work, household and official, simultaneously, which might, in turn, lead to conflicting situations. A study was by Sharma and Vaish in India, depicted that majority of women reported moderate-to-severe effects on mental health due to increased amount of workload (official and household chores) during the lockdown.
Urban Indian mothers during the COVID-19 experienced higher levels of stress working from home due to the increase in unpaid care work, household chores, and sometimes professional engagements, without much support in place. Both perceived stress and parental stress were found to be higher among mothers than fathers in a study conducted during the lockdown by Sahithya et al. using the Parental Stress Scale and Perceived Stress Scale. In this study, both perceived stress and parental stress were significantly associated with shouting, yelling or screaming, spanking or slapping the child, preoccupation with worries, difficulty in focusing on parenting and disciplining the child, and excessive time on TV or video games in children. Another matter of concern during this lockdown was the higher and disproportionate burden of unpaid household chores by Indian women as compared to men. Women spent more than 50 hours/week on unpaid work, which is higher than the maximum limit set for paid employment by law which is 48 hours/week. It is worth mentioning that the time spent on unpaid work has increased highest for unemployed women and married women.
The mental health issues in pregnancy may be related to concerns regarding the well-being of the unborn child. Lack of access to maternal health care and the absence of face-to-face interactions with health-care providers has added to the stress and depression that pregnant women are often prone to. Women with pregnancy complications and who had adverse pregnancy outcomes in earlier pregnancies experienced more severe depression which can have detrimental effects on the health and well-being of both women and fetus if not treated in the beginning. Associated economic stressors because of loss of their own or their partners' jobs have increased the burden.
We conclude by stating that women are the pillars of our society with their special quality to work persistently and do multitasking while managing the quality of work in different sectors, simultaneously. However, this COVID-19 pandemic has affected women more profoundly than men in several areas, both at the workplace and home with an increased workload due to lockdown and quarantine measures. Attention should be focused on designing a multidisciplinary approach to deal with domestic violence and other mentioned problems specific to women. Policymakers should take into consideration, the implications of lockdown on women's mental health which has an impact on the family's mental health and implement supportive interventions for the immediate and for future.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
| References|| |
World Health Organization. COVID-19 and Violence Against Women: What the Health Sector/System Can do, 7 April 2020. World Health Organization; 2020. Report No.: WHO/SRH/20.04. Available from: https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/331699
. [Last accessed on 2022 Jan 06].
Pattojoshi A, Sidana A, Garg S, Mishra SN, Singh LK, Goyal N, et al.
Staying home is NOT 'staying safe': A rapid 8-day online survey on spousal violence against women during the COVID-19 lockdown in India. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 2021;75:64-6.
Jaiswal A, Arun C. Unlocking the COVID-19 lockdown: Work from home and its impact on employees. Res Sq 2020:1-24.
Beri V. Impact of COVID-19 on mental health of employed women residing in Delhi-NCR, India: Mediating role of working from-for home. Health Care Women Int 2021;42:323-34.
Sharma N, Vaish H. Impact of COVID – 19 on mental health and physical load on women professionals: An online cross-sectional survey. Health Care Women Int 2020;41:1255-72.
Mazumdar K, Sen I, Gupta P, Parekh S. Psychological well-being of Indian mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic: The roles of self-compassion, psychological inflexibility, and parenting stress. Int Perspect Psychol 2021;10:155-62.
Chauhan P. Gendering COVID-19: Impact of the pandemic on women's burden of unpaid work in India. Gender Issues 2021;38:395-419.
Thapa SB, Mainali A, Schwank SE, Acharya G. Maternal mental health in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 2020;99:817-8.
Jungari S. Maternal mental health in India during COVID-19. Public Health 2020;185:97-8.
Bachani S, Sahoo SM, Nagendrappa S, Dabral A, Chandra P. Anxiety and depression among women with COVID-19 infection during childbirth-experience from a tertiary care academic center. AJOG Glob Rep 2022;2:100033.