NEW DELHI: The restrictions placed on normal social activities by the Covid-19 pandemic – and the resulting reduction in incomes, job losses and strained relations – are leading to an increase in people inflicting injuries to themselves.

At least that is what the data from three major hospitals, AIIMS New Delhi, Max Patparganj and Max Vaishali, indicates. “Cases of personal injuries went up three to four times in the lockdown period,” Dr Manoj Johar, director and head of the plastic surgery units at both Max Patparganj and Max Vaishali.

AIIMS received 23 cases of self-inflicted injuries between April and July, according to Dr Rajesh Malhotra, chief of trauma services, who categorically said most injuries involved “harm to self, using sharp objects”.
Reduced income, job loss, domestic tiffs leading to injuries
At Max Patparganj and Max Vaishali, the doctors logged a total of 40 cases of self-inflicted injuries from May to July.
“Normally, we get seven to eight cases of such injury cases in a year,” said Johar, adding, “The Covid lockdown has taken a heavy toll of young men.”
He pointed out that cases of this sort involved mainly young workers and males in their twenties, with the injuries resulting from banging heads on walls, smashing hands on window-panes, tables and bathroom mirrors.
Johar also cited the case of a young married woman who was brought to the hospital with 30% burns. “She tried to harm herself after arguments with family members. Her face, chest and upper limbs were significantly burnt. It took 12 days of ICU care to save her,” the plastic surgeon said.
According to Dr Malhotra, the incidence of death by suicide has also gone up in this trying period. “Loneliness, loss of a close relative, financial stress and uncertainty have affected people’s mental health,” he said. “We have also observed a rise in domestic violence and assault.”

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