Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 9  |  Page : 431-437

Effect of lockdown on mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic among individuals attending services at a tertiary care center

1 Department of Psychiatry, Kathmandu Medical College Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal
2 Department of Psychiatry, Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Patan, Nepal
3 Health Care Management, Nobel College of Health Science and Management, Kathmandu, Nepal

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Rachana Sharma
Department of Psychiatry, Kathmandu Medical College, Sinamangal, Kathmandu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_1038_20

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Background: Lockdown is an emergency measure or condition in which people are temporarily prevented from entering or leaving a restricted area or building during a threat or danger. Since the start of COVID-19 till date, almost one-third of the world's population is under some degree of restriction and lockdown, and the mental health effect of which is something that is being discussed widely. Aim: The study aimed to assess the effect of lockdown on mental health among individuals (patients or accompanying person) seeking services at a tertiary care center. Materials and Methods: Kathmandu Medical College is a tertiary care center and a medical college in Kathmandu, Nepal. In this study, we enrolled every 4th individual coming to the hospital's outpatient department registration counter to seek service and giving consent, for the duration of 1 month during the ongoing lockdown period. A semi-structured questionnaire was developed and approved by the department and was used to collect sociodemographic details and to rate the stress level. The General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) Nepali version was used to assess psychological well-being of the participants and a score of ≥3 by binary method was taken as positive case. Results: The total number of cases enrolled in the study was 204, out of them 62.2% were male and 32.8% were female and the mean age was 32.03 years. Twenty-three percent (23.5%) had preexisting health conditions. Out of the 204 participants, 67.6% said they were stressed following the lockdown and the mean rated stress was 2.90 in a scale ranging from 1 to 7. The frequently identified stressors were fear of contamination, restricted movement, and for inadequate supplies. Twenty-seven percent said they had some psychological symptoms and the most common symptoms were palpitation and sleep disturbance. Seventy-three individuals (36.5%) were found to have psychiatric problem according to their scores in GHQ-12. Rated stress and GHQ-12 scores were found to be strongly correlated (P = 0.000). Similarly, those who stated “Yes” in psychological symptoms significantly scored higher on GHQ-12 and stress (both P = 0.000). Conclusion: The lockdown has caused stress in majority of cases, and a significant number of individuals have diagnosable mental health conditions. Mental health impact of the lockdown is something that needs to be addressed seriously.



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