Webinar on mental health during COVID-19
A webinar titled “Mental health during COVID-19” was conducted on 18th August 2021. Dr. Ajay Risal, Associate Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry at Kathmandu University School of Medical Sciences (KUSMS) was the speaker, while Ritika Singh was the moderator. A total of 43 participants participated in the webinar, which was the second webinar of the ‘web series for capacity building of early-career researchers in Nepal’. It was organized by TPO Nepal, in partnership with George Washington University (GWU), as a part of the RESHAPE project.
After Ms. Ritika Singh introduced the webinar and the web series to the participants, Dr. Brandon Kohrt from GWU introduced the speaker and his work. Then, Dr. Ajay Risal gave his presentation on COVID-19 and mental health from a Nepalese perspective. He highlighted the neuropsychiatric manifestations of previous and current coronaviruses. He also warned that there might be higher rates of common mental disorders in the long run due to the virus. There have already been many studies showing the effects of COVID-19 on people’s mental health worldwide and in Nepal. According to Dr. Risal, some psychosocial concerns were health anxiety, unhealthy coping strategies, lockdown/quarantine, and stigma and discrimination. He then gave some recommendations for the national level, community level, and future to manage the mental health and psychosocial impacts of COVID-19. He also emphasized the need for data to understand the situation and suggested future research avenues for early-career researchers.
The presentation was followed by questions from the participants for Dr. Risal. The questions focused on managing distress, survivor’s guilt, innovative research methods, mental health helplines, and the increasing use of social media. The moderators then thanked the speaker and the participants, and the informative session ended.