Three out of four Pakistani adults are suffering from either moderate or high level of stress amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was revealed during the early findings conducted by the Agha Khan University on mental health that almost 1 in 3 people in Pakistan are experiencing moderate to high level of anxiety.
The department of community health sciences (CHS) of the university conducted the research. An online survey was taken of 373 respondents between April and May.
Validated screening tools were used in the first phase of the study to find out if the people have generalised anxiety disorder or not. Over 90% of the respondents were from Sindh and Punjab in the research.
The statement said, “Respondents ranked the top three causes of anxiety and stress as being fear of contracting the virus, financial losses during the pandemic and losing a loved one to COVID-19.”
The study revealed this that the participants were more worried about their loved ones catching the disease. Thus, almost 8 out of 10 respondents or almost 76% felt extreme stress of a closed one falling victim to it. However, 36% of the respondents felt fear of catching the virus themselves.
Professor Sameen Siddiqi, the CHS department chair said, “The pandemic has exposed our social and economic vulnerabilities and created widespread uncertainty in society. If left unchecked, stress associated with COVID-19 can lead to distress and the distress can lead to disease.”
The study’s principal investigator and a senior instructor in the CHS department Maryam Lakhdir stated, “The findings suggest that we are at risk of a mental health crisis during a pandemic. Policymakers must prioritise psychosocial interventions to limit the chances of long-lasting scars on our mental health.”