Mental Health Support in the time of COVID – A Story from KOSHISH

As the global pandemic has continued on, many have acknowledged that the impacts of COVID-19 go beyond the physical body. People all over the world are experiencing higher levels of depression and anxiety, and these conditions are exacerbated by isolation and a near constant sense of uncertainty about the future.

This is a story of hope and resilience shared with us by KOSHISH, a partner of MCC’s since 2012. KOSHISH does amazing work bringing women struggling with mental illness into safety and stabilization. They provide community-based and emergency psychosocial treatment, short-term residential rehabilitation, peer support networks, and advocacy. MCC currently supports KOSHISH’s transit home and community reintegration program for women diagnosed with severe mental illness.

“[This] 21-year-old Participant was rescued and brought into KOSHISH transit home after she tried to take her own life at the time of the lockdown. This young woman had been suffering from mental health problems for a very long time and had made several suicide attempts in the past. However, before the COVID-19 pandemic her condition was improving. She was receiving medication and counseling services. She was working as a receptionist in an office and was happy with her job. She was recovering, but the pandemic changed everything; she lost her job which created a seemingly unsurmountable problem for her as she didn’t have any other source of income to meet her daily expenses.

She noted that the lockdown brought increased feelings of loneliness. Her mental health condition started worsening and she again tried to take her own life. After 48 hours of being hospitalized she was brought into our transit home for short-term psychosocial support and care.

Initially, she remained quiet and detached in the transit home. With time, care, and support, she started opening up and engaging in therapeutic activities. She began showing a keen interest in those activities. She continued receiving psychiatric and psychological support and her mental health condition gradually started improving.

She improved so much that now she is receiving vocational training with another community organization. She is staying with them for 6 months and receiving the training, which will help her to lead an independent life. In the meantime, KOSHISH continues to support her as well as her family, who are outside of Kathmandu, to ensure she is supported and cared for when her training is finished and she returns to her home community.”

Image notes: The first image is of this participant creating art while in care at KOSHISH. This young woman has consented to her story, art, and image being used, however we have cropped her face and not used her name in order to protect her confidentiality. At MCC we have a policy to name project participants as it honours their humanity. In cases where confidentiality is important, like this one, we choose to honour humanity by honouring anonymity.

The candle is for hope, hope held for all of those suffering in body and in mind, in this time, in times past, and in times to come.

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