Indian Journal of Health Social Work
COVID AND SOCIETY: CHALLENGES BEFORE A SOCIAL WORK PROFESSIONALS
Narendra Kumar Singh
The COVID-19 outbreak has affected all segments of the population and is particularly detrimental to members of those social groups which are in the most vulnerable situations such as, people living in poverty situations, older persons, persons with disabilities, youth, and indigenous peoples. During this pandemic we all have witnessed that, it’s challenging for many of us to manage our health and mental well-being when faced with so many unknowns. Apart from creating situations of mass panic, fear, stress & sleep problems people have experienced major disturbances of psychological well-being as an outcome of COVID pandemic that has created a crisis like situation. This pandemic has led a majority of people especially with lower and lower middle strata of society and especially in the unorganized sector with loss of jobs and pay cuts. With demanding online way of working, deprivation of social gathering with closed ones or within the community, deprivation of social rituals and ceremonies etc. people have lost or in a way had been deprived of their stress buffer system. It has certainly led to impaired socio-occupational functioning which has further affected their psychological well-being and quality of life.
Social work professionals sit in a unique position during a public health crisis, one that’s often overlo oked. From offering emotional and mental health support to educating the larger community, their role entails navigating what is often a complex and evolving situation (during a pandemic):
It is important to incorporate social work professionals at all levels of health care response framework. Social work professionals are needed to navigate the area of global pandemic and assist with individual, family, group and community having grief, fear, stress, anxiety and Trauma etc. Social work professionals are also needed to better understand where systems are breaking down during pandemic l ike situations, wha t community resources are becoming available in a rapidly changing environment during pandemics, and how policies can be changed or modified to improve public health and safety. Moreover, I believe, that, during post COVID-19 phase (post pandemic phase), social work professionals can also support health care systems to better prepare for future public health crises by ensuring that people have easy access to basic needs as well as mental and physical health care.