Mental health issues rising as an impact of Covid-19

Health Watch

The Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak has left many Papua New Guineans grappling with mental health issues related to abuse and a quest for correct information.
The national helpline 1-Tok Kauselin Helpim Lain reported a 75 per cent spike in demand from last April to March, compared to calls before the Covid-19.
The helpline is a free, confidential phone counselling service providing information and support to anyone experiencing family violence or sexual violence issues.
Helpline manager Kinime Daniel said they expected the increasing demand for services to continue during and after the pandemic.
Daniel said many families had been affected by job losses, disruptions to education and health, especially for children and women.
Most callers want information on the Covid-19 and the helpline services.
Calls regarding mental health increased by 263 per cent – sexual violence, family violence, safety and intimate partner violence.
This also aligns with anecdotal data in PNG where mental health issues appear to be on the rise.
Harmful traditional practices are also on the rise – a 60 per cent increase.
They include sorcery accusation-related violence mostly against women and girls, triggered by stigma and misinformation on the Covid-19.
The report also showed a 98 per cent increase in calls from men (50 per cent increase from women) seeking information or who have witnessed violence.
Most survivors of violence were females.