Rajesh takes care of his mental health
The COVID-19 pandemic not only brought risks to people on a physical level, but also posed risks on a mental level, especially to school going students whose daily routine went completely upside down due to the mandatory lockdown. Rajesh is one of the many students who were compelled to stay inside their homes and cease contact with everyone outside. The rumours about uncertainty of cure and vaccine of the COVID-19 escalated the stress and fear amongst the children.
During the lockdown, Rajesh used to stay inside his home with little to do as there were no online classes from his school and he did not have books for the new session to read. He occasionally went for brief evening walks nearby his home but was stopped by the police as it was advised that no one left their homes.
“I was afraid if I would survive or not and I would never be able to see new things in my life. I feared my dreams would be lost forever”, says Rajesh looking back at the lockdown days.
Like many children, Rajesh too experienced some of the mental health issues like anger, fright and lack of sleep. He did not know back then that this could be a psychosocial problem induced by one of the many consequences of a global pandemic. Months later as the community slowly got back to normalcy and schools began to reopen, Save the Children, with its implementing partner RYC and RRPK, started providing group and individual psychosocial counselling to the community and schools. Rajesh too joined psychosocial counselling in his school after which he could identify his problems, stay calm and even coach his peers in his neighbourhood about it. He has also spoken with adults in the community about child marriage and its negative psychosocial impact on children, which he had heard as an example during the psychosocial counselling sessions. Rajesh further adds, “Counselling classes like these should be conducted each year for every grade and in the community too so that everyone can understand and be confident in themselves. This can also help reduce child marriage in the society”.
The psychosocial counselling sessions were conducted under the Nepal Emergency Response Fund project, which has already conducted 10 group counselling and individual psychosocial counselling as per need in Mahottari and Sarlahi districts of Province 2. Funded by UKAID, Save the Children along with consortium partners have also reached over 12,000 households with voucher transfer program.