By Siddhi Jain
As the pandemic intensifies, nearly 64 percent people with disabilities say they are facing financial problems, and nearly 60 percent have zero income in these trying times, a new survey has revealed. It also showed that a significant number of PwDs either lost their jobs or are incurring losses in business.
According to a nation-wide survey of over 2,000 PwDs conducted between July 18-27 2020 by EVARA Foundation,Dashamlav YouTube Channel and WeCapable.com, the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions have severely affected the daily lives and psychological state of the PwD.
Nearly 75 per are facing emotional challenges ranging from anxiety to depression and suicidal thoughts. Data also reveals that nearly 43.6 percent of the total respondents of the present survey are not sharing their problems or emotional state with anyone.
Employment of PwD has always been a key issue in India. Pandemic and lockdown have further aggravated this problem as many PwD either lost their jobs or incurring a loss in business.
The survey also reveals that a large number of job-seeking PwD were shattered because of the cancellation or postponement of the exams/interviews. A significant number of respondents have said that they are not getting basic necessities like food / shelter / medicine during these times.
“More than 75 percent respondents stated that their emotional state lies between anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Suicidal thoughts are twice more prevalent in males than females. Data analysis provides hints that financial loss faced by the respondents have had an impact on their mental health.
“More than 78 percent of respondents who are experiencing financial loss are also experiencing a range of mental health related issues. Out of total 868, 44 percent respondents have marked anxiety, fear or sadness. More serious mental health issues have been observed in the remaining 34 percent, out of which, nearly 12.09 percent respondents feel suicidal,” the survey found.
The comments received along with the questionnaire responses indicate that person with disabilities in smaller cities and rural areas are facing severe problems in ensuring the most fundamental requirements for sustaining their lives. Accordingly, the present survey report recommends that the State Disability Commissioners should take cognizance and make efforts at the panchayat level to identify PwD who are facing problems related to basic needs like food/shelter/medicines.
The survey report also recommends the state government to take appropriate measures for ensuring psychological counseling of the needy PwD as the study shows a worryingly high number of PwD are facing psychological issues.
(Siddhi Jain can be contacted at [email protected])