The National Institute of Mental Health has launched hotlines for mental health treatment and remains open to patients during the pandemic
"I do not enjoy watching television anymore. The school is closed and I cannot play with my friends," said Shnigdha, a six-year-old boy from Bador intersection of Mymensingh.
Shnigdha's mother Nusrat, a school teacher, said she is suffering from various psychological problems as her lifestyle has changed due to the prevailing crisis in the country. She cannot sleep properly which has caused her physical illness.
This correspondent has talked to people, from youths to the elderly, many of whom said they are facing psychological problems while on lockdown.
Some of them said they are suffering from anxiety, frustration and panic, however, the elderly are the worst-affected as the fear of death has engulfed them.
Saidur Rahman Shapon, 70, from the city's Boundary Road, said whenever he hears an ambulance siren, he panics, thinking that a neighbour might have contracted Covid-19. This mental stress is gradually making him sick.
His wife, Jasmin Chowdhury, said there is negative news everywhere.
"We have heard that elderly people are the most vulnerable to Covid-19. It seems I will never be able to go out. There is no way to talk to any of my neighbours," she said.
Experts said if the lockdown is extended the problem, which should be addressed immediately, will worsen. There is no alternative to helping each other out in this situation.
Shabaha Mugdha, who took the SSC examination this year, said he wanted to go on a trip after the examination.
"I cannot go out. I feel suffocated at home. I do not enjoy social media anymore. I also do not like what my parents say. Most of the time I am irritated," Mugdha said.
However, some people have coped well with the situation. For example, Ataul Karim from the city's Charpara area said he spent time with his family members, played with his grandchildren, and offered prayers. He said he tried not to think about Covid-19.
Mental health specialist Dr Abud Monsur said, "As people are not habituated with confinement, they become depressed. Many have contacted me. They are suffering from hallucinations. The elderly are more panicked."
"Everyone in a family must help each other, spend time together, especially with the elderly. All have to go to sleep on time. Our surroundings should be tidy. And, if the problem is acute, we should see a doctor," he added.
Regarding the root of the problems, Community Based Medical College and Hospital Bangladesh psychologist Dr MAS Pathan said, "Suddenly, working people have nothing to do now, which is the main reason for their problems, and naturally they will revolt. Moreover, many of them are anxious about their jobs and business too."
Service holders fear being laid-off whereas businesspeople are anxious about how they will recover their losses and pay their debts, he added.
He suggested that there is no alternative to leading a disciplined life in this crisis. We have to exercise regularly, talk to relatives, and to stay busy with something like reading books.
Seeking to remain anonymous, a doctor at Mymensingh Medical College said he has psychological problems, too, because he treats Covid-19 patients. He always panics that he will be infected. Sometimes, he takes sleeping pills.
Addressing the problems, the National Institute of Mental Health has launched hotlines for mental health treatment. People can call 01404000080 and 01404000081 to talk to mental health specialists from 8 am to 10 pm. For treatment over video chat on WhatsApp, people can call 01404000082 and 01404000083.
Professor Dr Bidhan Ranjan Roy Podder, director of the National Institute of Mental Health and Hospital, said, "A patient can go to the local health care centre and avail telemedicine services from the doctors of the National Institute of Mental Health."
Additionally, the National Institute of Mental Health is open and people can go there for treatment, he added.