COVID-19 Pandemic: Mental Health Challenges of Internal Migrant Workers of India

11 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2020

See all articles by Ranjana Choudhari

Ranjana Choudhari

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

Date Written: April 23, 2020


COVID-19, a biomedical disease has serious physical and tremendous mental health implications as the rapidly spreading pandemic. One of the most vulnerable, but neglected, an occupational community of internal migrant workers is prone for the development of psychological ill-effects due to double whammy impact of the COVID-19 crisis and concomitant adverse occupational scenario.

Permutations and combinations of the factors viz susceptibility for new viral infections, potential to act as vectors of transmission of infection, high prevalence of pre-existing physical health morbidities such as occupational pneumoconiosis, tuberculosis, HIV infections, pre-existing psychological morbidities, adverse psychosocial factors like absence of family support and caretaker during the crisis, their limitations to follow the rules and regulations of personal safety during the crisis, social exclusion, and inability to timely access the psychiatric services; all give rise to the peri-traumatic psychological distress to internal migrant workers. Superadded, is the blow of financial constraints due to loss of work, absence or suspension of occupational safety and health-related basic laws and associated occupational hazards, which makes this occupational group highly vulnerable for the development of psychological illnesses.

We attempt to draw the attention of mental health professionals, general medical practitioners and occupational health policymakers to the various, interrelated and interdependent predisposing and causative factors for the development of psychological ill-effects amongst internal migrant workers with the interventions needed to address it, from an occupational health perspective angle

Keywords: COVID-19, Internal Migrants, Mental Health, Occupational Health, Pandemic, SARS-CoV-2, Worker

JEL Classification: I18, I14

Suggested Citation

Choudhari, Ranjana, COVID-19 Pandemic: Mental Health Challenges of Internal Migrant Workers of India (April 23, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Ranjana Choudhari (Contact Author)

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) ( email )

National Institute of Occupational Health
NIOH, Meghani Nagar
Ahemdabad, Gujarat, Gujarat 380016

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