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Table of Contents
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 181-182

Mental health nurses: Untapped potentials during COVID-19 for mental health services

1 Department of Mental Health Nursing, ESIC College of Nursing, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Mental Health Nursing, Ramaiah Institute of Nursing Education and Research, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission19-Nov-2022
Date of Decision15-Dec-2022
Date of Acceptance19-Dec-2022
Date of Web Publication27-Dec-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. M Vijayarani
ESIC College of Nursing, Bengaluru, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/iopn.iopn_95_22

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How to cite this article:
Vijayarani M, Balamurugan G. Mental health nurses: Untapped potentials during COVID-19 for mental health services. Indian J Psy Nsg 2022;19:181-2

How to cite this URL:
Vijayarani M, Balamurugan G. Mental health nurses: Untapped potentials during COVID-19 for mental health services. Indian J Psy Nsg [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 May 31];19:181-2. Available from: https://www.ijpn.in/text.asp?2022/19/2/181/365480

Critical events in the 21st century have made the planet vulnerable to emerging microbes that cause serious illnesses. A novel virus can quickly spread across the globe, as in the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. SARS, which emerged in 2003, demonstrated that these viruses impact both industrialized and developing nations equally, regardless of their healthcare infrastructure and level of living.[1] The Ebola outbreak served as a warning for everyone to be ready for other disease outbreaks.[2] Late in December 2019, pneumonia patients in Wuhan, China, were found to have no recognized etiology. On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) office in China received a report of the first case of COVID 19. Since then, it has spread around the world, prompting the WHO to designate the COVID-19 outbreak as a public health emergency of global concern on January 30, 2020.[3] As of December 2022, around 213 nations, regions, or territories reported 64+ crore infected people and 66+ lakhs fatalities from COVID-19.[4] As far as India is concerned, there are 4+ crore infected cases with 5+ lakhs deaths till December 2022.[4]

This unprecedented crisis has brought a lot of sudden changes in everyone's mental health. Infected individuals had experienced fear and anxiety toward the uncertainty of the disease outcome, whereas the relatives were worried about their loved one's treatment outcome.[5] In addition, they can be a focal point in the delivery of counseling assistance to those who have contracted COVID-19 and their families. For the elderly during the pandemic, counseling was essential because the majority of them faced a high risk of death after contracting the disease. Moreover, in many locations, older individuals perished as a result of their terrible anxiety and worry about testing positive for COVID-19 and the potential to catch the infection during the pandemic. Children were similarly affected by worry and lacked the necessary information and assistance to understand what was going on around them.[6]

Up to May 31, 2021, 4.5 lakh calls had been made to the IVRS helpline of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, which was established on March 27, 2020, to meet the needs of people from throughout the nation shortly after the outbreak of COVID-19.[7] Similarly, the Indian Society of Psychiatric Nurses (ISPN) and the Indian Nursing Council jointly provided telecounseling services to nurses in the COVID-19 battleground.[8] From personal experience, a team of three mental health nursing teachers provided mental health support to the persons infected with COVID-19 during the second wave in a tertiary care hospital in Bangalore.

The most amount of workforce that can be gathered, trained, and used efficiently is needed to address this emergency. Therefore, under this circumstance, it is essential to maximize the capacity of healthcare professionals like mental health nurses. As per the ISPN, there are around 2000+ mental health nurses are registered as Life Members of the society; and many more may not be registered with the society. Further, the majority of them are working in private nursing colleges and few are in government colleges and other organizations. These mental health nursing teachers can offer immediate, routine and urgent care, disseminate accurate information, reduce anxiety and fear, and take part in a variety of community awareness programs. However, the potential of this mental health nursing workforce might be underutilized during this pandemic. Mental health nursing teachers can be utilized expertly in catastrophes like the COVID-19 epidemic. Therefore, it is essential to devise a mechanism to effectively use these resources to the community's advantage in such circumstances.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

CDC. 2009 H1N1 Pandemic (H1N1pdm09 Virus) | Pandemic Influenza (Flu) | CDC; 2019. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/2009-h1n1-pandemic.html. [Last accessed on 2022 Dec 19].  Back to cited text no. 1
World Health Organization. Ebola Virus Disease. World Health Organization; 2021. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ebola-virus-disease?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI84PohfuD_AIVB1pgCh0HTAeaEAAYASAAEgKlsvD_BwE. [Last accessed on 2022 Dec 19].  Back to cited text no. 2
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). World Health Organization; 2021. Available from: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/question-and-answers-hub/q-a-detail/coronavirus-disease-covid-19. [Last accessed on 2022 Dec 19].  Back to cited text no. 3
World Health Organization. WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard. World Health Organization; 2022. Available from: https://covid19.who.int/table. [Last accessed on 2022 Dec 18].  Back to cited text no. 4
Mertens G, Gerritsen L, Duijndam S, Salemink E, Engelhard IM. Fear of the coronavirus (COVID-19): Predictors in an online study conducted in March 2020. J Anxiety Disord 2020;74:102258.  Back to cited text no. 5
Singh S, Roy D, Sinha K, Parveen S, Sharma G, Joshi G. Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on mental health of children and adolescents: A narrative review with recommendations. Psychiatry Res 2020;293:113429.  Back to cited text no. 6
Rao S. Nimhans got 4.5 lakh calls since COVID outbreak | Bengaluru news – Times of India. Times India 2021. Available from: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/nimhans-got-4-5-lakh-calls-since-covid-outbreak/articleshow/83623183.cms. [Last accessed on 2022 Dec 19].  Back to cited text no. 7
Balamurugan G, Radhakrishnan G, Vijayarani M. Indian society of psychiatric nurses (ISPN India) and Indian nursing counselling (INC) Counselling service for the nurses in COVID-19 battle. Indian J Psychiatr Nurs 2022;19:96. Available from: http://www.ijpn.in/text.asp?2022/19/1/0/350857. [Last accessed on 2022 Nov 17].  Back to cited text no. 8


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