Self Care, Mental Health And Covid-19: An Exploratory Study
self care, mental health, Covid-19, India, autism, caregivers
Disability Studies | Psychology
COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease-19), an infectious condition was first identified in December 2019, in Wuhan, in China. It has led to a worldwide pandemic with millions of people affected—not just health wise, but also economically and psychologically. The uncertainty associated with it, has caused immense anxiety, stress and trauma to people all over the world. India’s response to COVID-19 has comprised of a series of phases of Lockdown and subsequent Unlock. In mid-March, India announced a nationwide Lockdown, that led to the closure of educational institutions, factories, work places, transport, cinema halls, hotels, malls etc. The only places that were open during the Lockdown were essential services. Over the next few months, India has entered the Unlock phase, with most services opening to business. The Lockdown and the subsequent Unlock phases had an immense impact on the lives of the common people, who were confined within their houses, or with some flexibility, within their gated communities. In such a context, the researcher made an attempt to understand how caregivers of individuals with Autism coped with the changes brought on by COVID-19, how it impacted on their self-care and mental health and the creative strategies adopted by them to keep their children on the Autism spectrum, engaged. To this end, a Qualitative approach was adopted and a small sample of five (5) parent caregivers, were selected through Purposive Sampling, in the city of Hyderabad, in south India. A Caregiver Self-Assessment Checklist (developed by the Parkinson’s Foundation) was administered to the participants. An open-ended questionnaire was constructed and telephonic interviews were conducted with the participants. The detailed interviews were then thematically analysed. The study revealed the following—First, the pandemic and the Lockdown was stress inducing (and had far reaching impacts on the caregivers and their families). Secondly, although bogged down by the stressors, the caregivers focused on the positives that the situation brought. Thirdly, the caregivers went above and beyond to creatively engage with their children, even with limited resources at hand. Fourthly, the caregivers tried to engage in self-care activities to improve their mental-health. Fifthly, the scores on the Caregiver Assessment Checklist ranged between ‘Excellent job at taking care of yourself’ and ‘Room for Improvement’ and Sixthly, the caregivers believed that technology provided an important sense of connectedness during the pandemic.
Goswami Vernal, Triveni
"SELF CARE, MENTAL HEALTH AND COVID-19: AN EXPLORATORY STUDY OF THE COPING STRATEGIES OF CAREGIVERS OF INDIVIDUALS WITH AUTISM DURING THE PANDEMIC (IN HYDERABAD, INDIA),"
BAU Journal - Society, Culture and Human Behavior: Vol. 2
, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.bau.edu.lb/schbjournal/vol2/iss2/9