Kolkata: The central government’s demonetisation drive has taken a toll on the mental health of many cash strapped people, with the rural population hit the most, said a senior psychiatrist in Kolkata.
“Over the past couple of days, I have received quite a few cases from people adversely affected by the demonetisation,” said Sanjay Garg, senior consultant psychiatrist at Fortis, Anandapur.
“Many of these calls came from rural Bengal, where people are largely dependent on liquid cash, unlike urban areas where online payments and cards are common,” Garg said.
“The rural folk do not have the plastic money option,” he added.
Garg said people were skipping consultation dates due to the cash crunch.
“People are missing consultation dates in hospitals because they cannot afford the travelling expenses and doctor’s fees,” he said.
“Telephone consultations are a possibility but then again patient monitoring isn’t quite viable over the phone,” Garg said.
To combat the stress and anxiety during the liquid cash crunch, Garg provided a few tips to combat the demonetisation fallout.
“The biggest help would be lifestyle modification,” he said. For example physical activity like brisk walking and deep breathing could help in calming one’s nerves and relaxing the mind, Garg said.
“Relaxation therapy and distraction technique like listening to music, dancing or pursuing one’s hobbies and engaging in some recreational activity could help, too,” he added.
For those religiously inclined, they could engage themselves in meditation and regular spirituality as it would divert their mind and also provide solace from the problem.
Garg also advised not to trust random information.
“Don’t trust information from random resources, check for authenticity before reacting and lastly cut down on maladapted behaviour like smoking and drinking,” he said.
“Improving your social network, including your family and friends is extremely important during these times,” Garg advised.
Reports of people dying have been a regular feature across the country with the small sector industry hit at large.