Fear and Stigma during COVID-19: A Road Map to Develop Effective Interventions

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Neenumol Babu, Lekha. D. Bhat


The pandemic has generated a lot of fear and stigma and it becomes imperative to develop appropriate interventions. The interventions generally emphasize economic, and epidemiological aspects overlooking psychological factors. During the spread of a pandemic, the general reaction is panic, blame, fear, and discrimination depending upon its intensity, severity, and duration and this needs timely intervention.

Study design: The paper is a conceptual paper developed using the literature available during the initial six months of the pandemic spread.

Methods: This is a systematic review paper. This review paper has been developed based on published research studies available in this field from Jan 2020-Jan 2021. Searched, and downloaded over 115 articles with keywords such as stigma, fear, anxiety, stress, and mental health during the pandemic situation. For inclusion and exclusion criteria, articles published in English and those published in peer review journals were included.

Results: Among the Covid patients, severe mental health problems including boredom, anxiety, fear, and insomnia were reported. Prolonged social restrictions, lockdowns, and quarantines have frightened and alarmed people in general. In a highly digitalized world, the spread of false Covid-related information has led to very harmful psychological reactions.

Conclusion: Fear, stigma, and other psychological problems that occur during a pandemic can significantly affect the individual behavior and social conduct of a community. It is imperative that efforts be made on the part of the government, health practitioners, and NGOs to develop evidence-based models through research and develop practice based on those concepts.

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