KU moot experts discuss mental health issues caused by the pandemic

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A total of 452,081,269 people worldwide have so far been infected with Covid-19 during the pandemic of which 380,489,141 people have recovered from the pandemic.

The pandemic has also affected interpersonal relationships and caused mental health issues that have led to new problems. Suicidal ideation, risky behavioral tendencies, and drug and substance use have led to mental problems in many countries since the Covid-19 outbreak, as the majority of the world has had to impose lockdowns to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

These views were expressed by the head of the department of psychology at Kabarak University in Kenya, Dr. James Kay, during the presentation of a keynote address at the inaugural session of an international conference of a day titled ‘Post-Covid Impact on the Mental Health of Millennials: Physical, Social and Educational Challenges’ held at the University of Karachi (KU) on Thursday.

Dr. Kay shed light on mental health issues during the pandemic and its influences on financial, health and family matters for different generations. He observed that psychiatrists in different parts of the world believed that the impacts of Covid-19 were long-lasting and that it would take a long time to recover from financial losses.

The main guest, Senator and Chairman of Sindh Mental Health Authority Dr Karim Khawaja said Covid-19 has affected all walks of life in political, social and economic spheres. He added that for the first time, psychologists from KU and University of Sindh had been involved in a counseling project.

He called these lectures the need of the hour. Acting KU Vice-Chancellor Professor Dr Nasira Khatoon said Covid-19 had harmed not only human health but also their personalities and attitudes.

She said that during the pandemic, we have witnessed weaknesses in our healthcare system. There was an urgent need to pay due attention to the mental health of the population, she added. Conference coordinator Prof Dr Farah Iqbal said mental health had been badly affected due to Covid-19.

She shared these 25 speakers and 46 scientific papers and six poster presentations from all over Pakistan and various universities around the world including Kabarak University, Kenya; University of Birmingham, UK; Rutgers University, USA; FATA University; University of Sindh; Bahawalpur University and others took part in the event.

Prof. Dr. Qudsia Tariq, Chair of the KU Department of Psychology, explained the research and teaching activities of the department and briefed the participants on the aims and objectives of the conference.

Later, a plenary session was organized in which experts in the field of mental health shared their articles. Professor Emeritus Dr. Mohammad Iqbal Afridi, Dean of the Faculty of Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan, highlighted post-pandemic impacts on physical and mental health and discussed social, emotional and physical risk factors.

Dr. Mohammad Zeeshan from Rutgers University discussed the challenges of post-Covid-19 parenting and how parents could cope with these adverse effects by providing effective parenting and guidance strategies.

Dr. Asif Khan and Dr. Yasmin Khan, clinical psychologists from Chicago, highlighted the social impacts of Covid-19 and shared an article on the history of hope and despair regarding Covid respectively.

Dr Erfana Shah from the University of Sindh also addressed the conference and focused on emerging psychological and educational challenges. At the same time, two scientific sessions were also organized during which 22 research papers were presented by researchers from different universities. Professor Dr Aneeq Ahmad shared a study on loneliness in the elderly.

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