Helping everyone deal with grief: Meet the people who are making a difference


Express News Service

The more virulent second wave of Covid-19, has taken a toll not just on the physical health but mental as well. More affected are the people who have lost their loved ones.

The worst affected among these are children, who have lost either one or both their parents.

“Losing one parent is bad enough, losing both doubles the mental wounds. Many of these children (who have lost both their parents) have no one to take care of them” says Child Psychologist Upasana Kinra.

According to the UN Children’s Fund, coronavirus is sickening and destroying an increasing number of children and babies. Pitching in to help such children is Poddar Foundation that has set up Wellbeing Volunteers United (WVU) for Relief Community Services.

Dr Prakriti Poddar, Poddar Foundation

“In the prevailing scenario, apart from severe health consequences, children are also facing emotional, social, and economic threat as they are losing their caregivers,” says Dr Prakriti Poddar, Managing Director, Poddar Foundation, adding that many children are left destitute with huge mental health challenges, and without anybody to look after them.

“We require an understanding of what children and young people are going through to know how best they can be supported and get back to their normal life,” says Dr Poddar.

The Poddar Foundation launched the Wellbeing Volunteers United initiative last year to help the rising number of people suffering from depression, anxiety and domestic violence cases in the wake of lockdown.

It had mobilised mental health professionals across the country to create a collective and serve as a forum for assisting the most vulnerable.

It is these WVU who are now helping the affected children connect to trustworthy welfare organisations that will provide the necessary guidance, assistance, and support to them.

A team of over 4000 volunteers is working across the country, soothing the frayed nerves. Apart from children, the WVU are also assisting the LGBTQ community and frontline healthcare workers and their families in dealing with depression, anxiety and coping with mental wellbeing issues by offering therapy, counselling, or just by being a friend with whom they can speak.

“The LGBTQ people often feel ostracized. We would like to encourage sensitivity as they reach out to us. The unknown may be uncomfortable to all of us, so those who require LGBTQI sensitivity training, should connect with us. We want to ensure that all who struggle with anxiety and stress can reach out to us,” informs Dr Poddar.

“As it is, the community is neglected and has limited access to education and employment. The pandemic has further worsened our situation. We are unable to mobilise members physically, collect resources, gain access to shared living spaces, and earn resources” says transgender Mahi Gupta, appreciating the initiative.

Need help? Call Wellbeing Volunteers United at their 24*7 helpline number +1 (800) 121-0980.

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