The sudden spread of Covid-19 brought the life of people to a standstill globally. A new disease, huge stigma, an enormous amount of fear, lack of information all added to the agony. As the nation went to a total lockdown, there was chaos all over and the Delhi Police had to safeguard the people of Delhi. While dealing with the people many of the police personnel got infected. As Delhi Police officials felt the need to give psychological support to their staff members at this hour of crisis, they reached out to various institutions and organisations. A team of 23 committed and qualified psychologists and counselors supported by psychiatrists and doctors took up the challenge, aiming at ‘Wellness for Delhi Police’.
Anjali Tresa Veliath, School Counselor of Don Bosco School, Alaknanda, holding a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) with a few years of experience in counseling was approached by Mr Sakhi John of ‘Distress Management Collective India’ asking for her support in this endeavour. She was more than happy to take up this responsibility from 5 May 2020 and reached out to patients who were assigned to her. Anjali says: “Initially it was a bit difficult for me as I found that many weren’t ready to get counseling support. But slowly I managed to win them over. I have given psychological support and solace to more than 200 Police Personnel.”
The general impression she got was that the biggest problem people had was the fear of death as they were scared by the news of the shocking fatality rates from countries like Italy, Spain, USA, etc. The second aspect was isolation; nobody wanted to be in quarantine. The third one was stigma; some of them even asked her whether their own people will accept them once they go back to their houses. This fear made many conceal their Covid-19 Positive status from their family members.
With sentiments of satisfaction after receiving the Certificate of Appreciation from S.N.Shrivastava IPS, Commissioner of Police, Delhi, Anjali affirms: “Never have I experienced anything like the impact of Covid-19. These sessions of counseling with Covid-19 patients were different because it was more of a crisis management and the effort was more on the mitigation of fear. I had to do it on war-footing as there were many people to be addressed on a single day.”
Fr. Babu Varghese SDB