covid-19, coronavirus
Representational image. Image Credit: Pixabay

Impact of COVID-19 on mental health

Calling the pandemic stressful would be an understatement (“COVID-19: 5 ways to get help in the UAE for your mental health”, Gulf News, April 15). Rather, it is an outburst of emotions that transit to something that can be too overwhelming. Human beings are social creatures, and being in a pandemic emphasizes alienation. Factors like fear and anxiety can often revolve around the lifestyles of most. When social distancing creates a rift between oneself and the outside world, it negatively affects some people to an extent where consumption of alcohol and drugs increases, along with suicidal tendencies. In relevance to the anxiety induced by social distancing, lack of financial stability and job loss can also evoke stress amongst people. The loss of a loved one can also be impactful in particular when there exist restrictions limiting travel and meetups.

Despite the difficulties, we are not alone. There are various online platforms that allow us to find resources and connect with people who can help. In conclusion, times may be tough, but the modern world has equipped us with the means to stay closer than ever.

From Ms Ashiqa Jose

Dubai, UAE

Evolution of media: How it changed our lives

The only social media I had when I was growing up was the radio! The only stations I tuned in to, on an old Bush radio, were ‘Radio Ceylon’ and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Of course, there were one or two Indian radio stations as well. The first for music and the second for the evening news. At times the valve radio did not catch the desired station, and one had to give it a thump on the side, and presto, it would start obeying commands. Whether it was the 6am morning music show, cricket matches, man landing on the moon, late-night instrumental music, or the daily news – that was social media for us, and we enjoyed it.

Yes, we clapped when the cricket commentator shouted that a batsman had hit a four or a six. I remember jumping when I heard those famous words by Neil Armstrong when he became the first person to set foot on the moon: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Nothing can take away the thrill of those very special moments.

Now there is the internet, television with hundreds of channels to choose from, Facebook, WhatsApp, and so many others. The list is endless and continues to grow – who knows what we will have ten and twenty years from now! We are, indeed, spoilt for choice.

Now everyone has a phone, and nobody seems to be able to do without it. Children carry it to school; people sign in before an operation, they check it between repetitions in the gym, peep at it in the church, click selfies in strange places, and feel lost and forlorn if they leave the house without it. I have often forgotten my wallet but rarely my phone.

On a slightly different note, looking at schools going online around the world today, I wonder if brick and mortar schools will exist in the future. Everyone is managing quite well, and with the advancement of technology, this will happen – in fact, it already has. The debate for social interaction will continue and be solved too. Parents and pupils around the world are already getting very comfortable with the “new normal”. Not having to spend money on uniforms, innumerable books, and on travel, is gradually making parents realise the indirect savings they are making. And that is something one cannot scoff at in this day and age when every penny counts.

Mark you – I am not writing schools off any time soon. Nothing can replace face to face teaching and learning. The pat on the back from your teacher, the competition with your friends on stage and the field, the camaraderie, the jokes, the bunking classes – all seem irreplaceable right now but then again who knows. For how long will “now” exist?

I never thought I would ever have a cordless phone like James Bond, did I?

From Mr Michael Guzder


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