Kashmir, Under Siege and Lockdown, Faces a Mental Health Crisis: NYT

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Kashmir, Under Siege and Lockdown, Faces a Mental Health Crisis
A long spell of conflict in the Kashmir valley has prompted harrowing effects on the new generation. This generation has seen the wanton atrocities of the Indian authorities since the annulment of the state’s special status.

The article highlights, “Eight months after India revoked Kashmir’s semiautonomous status and brought the region fully under its authority, doctors here say a state of hopelessness has morphed into a severe psychological crisis. Mental health workers say Kashmir is witnessing an alarming increase in instances of depression, anxiety and psychotic events”.

Added to this is the lockdown imposed to fight the coronavirus. With police beating up residents who step out of their home and couldn’t avail medical services, has further exacerbated the situation.

The valley is witnessing a rise in suicides and domestic abuses. “Nearly 1.8 million Kashmiris, or nearly half of all adults, have some form of mental disorder, Doctors Without Borders estimated after surveying 5,600 households in 2015”, notes the article.

The development of health infrastructure in the state has been precluded by decades of unrest. On the whole, Kashmir has fewer than 60 psychiatrists with only one government psychiatrist in Pulwama.

School-going kids have never seen a month of school. Students and top-elected officials including three former chief ministers were arrested after the clampdown. Here in Kashmir, “every season of turmoil brings a new kind of pain.”

Link to the original article: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/26/world/asia/kasmir-india-mental-health-coronavirus.html

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