Lockdowns have a profound impact on the people

The impact on those who have always kept themselves busy working outside their homes cannot be underestimated.

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Photograph: avi_acl/Pixabay

The Association for Community and Dialogue is concerned that distress calls statistics received by government agencies from 25 March 2020 to 20 May this year revealed that 85.5% of the calls were related to mental health issues that require emotional support and counselling.

Health Minister Dr Adham Baba said these issues included acute stress, anxiety, depression, abuse and suicidal behaviour.

The Covid health crisis and consequent damage to the economy has affected the psychological and socioeconomic wellbeing of the people.

Lockdowns have a spiritual and psychological impact on people who have always kept themselves busy working outside their homes. Lockdowns also reinforce the anxiety of the jobless, who cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Families who have lost their loved ones because of Covid and others whose close ones are in quarantine or sick are also affected.

The government has come up with various programmes such as wage subsidies, penjana kerjaya (job creation) and aid to those have lost their jobs. All these programmes, which are good in themselves, are carried out from the perspective of seeing human persons as instruments of economic progress rather than through contemplation of the inherent truth that human beings are not just made for economic success.

But people have spiritual intelligence – beyond the physical sense – that is essential for overall human wellbeing. While counselling and emotional support are important, these deal only with psychological and rational intelligence instead of the whole self. Intelligence is not just made up of the mind; it has an interior life that is in harmony with nature and creation.

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It is sad that over the decades, some religious leaders have confined their teachings to mechanical, rote religious learning or are involved in communal ethno-religious rhetoric instead of cultivating silence and experiencing the contemplative life in their communities.

A person who is in unity with God, himself or herself, and creation would be able to understand and accept the reality of changing situations which he or she is part of and that would ultimately lead to new life, new beginnings.

Religious leaders should lead their respective congregation in silence and contemplative life, imbued in their respective religious traditions. This would help rejuvenate the spirit of the people amid the current healthcare and economic crisis.

Counselling and emotional support alone are inadequate. Wisdom and harmony with nature’s realities are also vital. Intelligence is not merely about the mind.

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Betty L Khoo
Betty L Khoo
2 Jun 2021 11.44am

I have been living ALONE for the past 16 years since my husband passed away. The draconian lockdown measures are particularly hard for many like me because, even going out to eat ALONE – in a cafe or stall where they know me – and I do not have to cook, clean, and eat alone – has now been taken away from me. Surely they should allow one or two people to dine
out.

Gursharan Singh
Gursharan Singh
1 Jun 2021 11.25am

Is it possible that worldwide during post Covid19 most may have become ’employees’ [at lower/higher levels] where their time management is dictated by policies-procedures-directions-etc designed by others and thus as ’employees’ are not allowed to think but obey and now do not know how to manage their own time?

There may be a great possibility of rising mental problems for more citizens as many may have lost their ability to be able to self occupy their minds?

Above view may not apply to those who work independently and thus think for themselves and are mentally active,

Sadly ’employees’ at senior levels may also be obstructing the self employed to function and thus creating mental problems for them.

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