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Mental health issues in the COVID-19 pandemic and responses in Bangladesh: view point of media reporting

Nabila Ashraf, Mir, Jennings, Hannah, Chakma, Nantu, Farzana, Noshin, Islam, Md. Saimul, Maruf, Toufiq, Uddin, M. M. Jalal, Uddin Ahmed, Helal, Mcdaid, David ORCID: 0000-0003-0744-2664 and Naheed, Aliya (2021) Mental health issues in the COVID-19 pandemic and responses in Bangladesh: view point of media reporting. Frontiers in Public Health, 9. ISSN 2296-2565

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Identification Number: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.704726

Abstract

Background: The negative impact of COVID-19 on mental health has been reported by media throughout the world, although this role is not well-understood in low-and middle income countries (LMIC). We examined the reporting of mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh and initiatives undertaken to support mental health reported from the viewpoint of media. Methods: We reviewed articles published in 10 local newspapers, including seven Bangla and three English newspapers, during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. News topics were identified through discussions among the team members, with searches across online newspapers and portals. Data extrapolated from newspapers were documented in an Excel spreadsheet. A mixed-method approach was used following a framework analysis for analyzing data. Recurring issues and commonly emerging topics were generated from the data. Descriptive statistics were applied for analyzing quantitative data. Results: Between March 2020 and March 2021, we have identified 201 reports on mental health issues including 45 reports (22.4%) focused on stress due to the associated financial crisis, unemployment and loneliness, 50 reports (24.9%) of 80 apparent suicides linked to family issues, disharmony in conjugal relationships, harassment, sexual violence, emotional breakdown, financial crisis, and stigma due to COVID-19.There were 77 reports (38.3%) concerning domestic violence during the pandemic. Twenty-nine reports (14.4%) referenced actions taken by different organizations to address mental health issues in response to the pandemic in Bangladesh. Conclusion: News coverage has the scope to highlight important issues that can emerge as a consequence of the COVID-pandemic, such as mental health, in a low resource setting. Capacity building of the media on the way to report mental health issues during emergency situations could be a useful strategy for more credible reporting on mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic for raising awareness of the public and policymakers about the negative consequences on mental health of the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh. Adopting policies to support essential mental health care and promoting the local organizations to take timely public health measures will be imperative for averting the negative consequences of mental health due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/public-health
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors
Divisions: Personal Social Services Research Unit
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2021 13:54
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2021 08:12
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/111865

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