The coronavirus pandemic is definitely a test for medical practitioners. But what many of us overlooked is the pandemic becoming a brutal psychological test. The information overload that has started with the outbreak is taking a toll on mental health especially on those who are already suffering from conditions of anxiety and depression.
“Right now, people are feeling grief over the loss of routines, certainty, and a perception of themselves as being generally healthy and protected,” said psychiatrist Joshua Morganstein to Washington Post.
The mental health battle, China shows the way
China witnessed a lockdown that lasted for many weeks. City after city was put in lockdown, there were extreme travel restrictions and thousands of people were in isolation wards. People were either forced to stay at home or were separated from family for weeks.
But China saw it coming. Their psychologist and psychiatrist were ready with 600 dedicated helplines nationwide. It was important that people were heard, more than anything at a time when they were not just worried about themselves, but their loved ones who were suffering a potential virus attack.
Mental health practitioners around the world are now emphasizing one thing more than anything: The need to stay connected.
Most people are not used to stay at home. It affects the rhythm and workflow.
Creating a new daily routine that prioritizes looking after oneself is essential according to them.
“You could try reading more or watching movies, having an exercise routine, trying new relaxation techniques, or finding new knowledge on the internet. Try and rest and view this as a new if unusual experience, that might have its benefits,” suggests mentalhealth.org
Talk to children
With schools shut down and not really able to make sense of the things that are going down, Children are the most vulnerable to mental health break down.
It thus becomes important to talk to the children without leading them to a state of panic. It is also important to not over-expose or bombard them with information.
“We need to minimize the negative impact it has on our children and explain the facts to them. Discuss the news with them but try and avoid over-exposure to coverage of the virus. Be as truthful as possible. Try to not avoid the ‘scary topic’ but engage in a way that is appropriate for them,” suggests practitioners.
Our cities might be locked down, and we might be isolated in homes, but it is important to talk and spread support and solidarity.