The topic of Mental Health has become a critical outcome of the COVID-19 outbreak around the world. With this extended span of Social Distancing and Self Quarantine, people are keeping themselves amused by connecting with each other virtually. However, it is easy to forget how difficult being in isolation can be for some people. This stands especially true in case of people with pre-existing mental health issues, those who are a suspect in the incubation period waiting to get tested, or those who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Social Distancing and Isolation in the current situation is not negotiable, but as a community, we need to keep certain things in mind to be able to deal with this pandemic without facing an adverse effect on our mental health.
The Impact of Isolation on Mental Health
Physical isolation and the absence of human touch, physical or emotional, can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health. It can lead to a feeling of depression, and among patients, it can even lead to feelings of alienation and stigma.
Not to mention, the uncertainty in the air and the rising death toll is creating a sense of hopelessness and anxiety among people at large, and in extreme cases, mental health breakdowns.
Considering the scenario, make sure to get in touch with a medical expert or counsellor, if you or someone around you is feeling overwhelmed and needs to talk to a professional about their mental health.
Government Helpline Number (Toll Free): 08046110007
Common Signs of Distress
- Feeling anxiety, fear, disbelief, or numbness
- Feeling short tempered
- Short attention span
- Changed appetite, stamina, and activity levels
- Increase consumption of alcohol or tobacco
- Worsened chronic health issues
- Physical reactions like skin rashes, headache, stomach issues, or body ache
- Difficulty sleeping, which may even include nightmares or disturbing thoughts when sleeping
If you experience any of these changes for multiple days in a row and find them interrupting your day-to-day activities, it is important to seek medical help.
It is important to find an antidote to isolation by keeping ourselves engaged, amused and hopeful in these trying times.
For people with pre-existing mental health issues – People with pre-existing mental conditions must continue with their treatment process and keep a check for any new symptoms. They can even book an online consultation with a medical practitioner for advice.
Separate what’s in control from what’s not – Realize that there are only certain things that you can control, and focus on them. There is no way of knowing what’s going to happen in the near future, which is why stay in the present and do what needs to be done in the current day. Maintain social distancing, practice good hygiene, eat healthy, and keep away from overload of false information.
Stay Connected – Stay connected with your family and friends. Even though you cannot see each other in person, make sure to check in regularly. It is important to understand that everybody is craving some human connection in their daily lives right now. Help others while you help yourself.
Raise Awareness – Along with the physiological impact, it is important to raise awareness about the possibility of mental health issues on account of the Coronavirus outbreak. The more people are aware, the easier it will be for everyone to communicate and be there for each other.
Engage Virtually – Amuse yourself by engaging in virtual games and challenges. This is the best time for some screen time.
Destress your way – Do what helps you destress. This is different for everyone and you don’t have to do something just because it seems to be working for others. Introspect and indulge in yourself to keep yourself in a positive mind frame.
Unwind – Make sure you do not overburden yourself with too much work and take time to unwind and enjoy the slow pace of life right now.
Be Productive – Use this time to upskill yourself. Take up an online course, start working out regularly, learn something new, take up a hobby, and read those books you never found the time for earlier.
This will help you feel good about yourself and keep you in a positive state of mind.
Do Not Dehumanize – Be human even when you are social distancing. When interacting with an individual, do not treat them as a potential threat or carrier of the virus. Stay emotionally warm towards them while maintaining the required physical distance.
Eat Healthy – Apart from all these things, it is important to remember that a lot of what goes on in the mind is influenced by what we put inside our body. Ensure that you eat a healthy and balanced diet, and keep yourself hydrated.
Reach out – if you are feeling particularly anxious or feel like you need to talk to someone about your mental health, do not hesitate to talk to a friend or reach out to a medical health expert for help.
Top 5 Mental Health Apps You Can Use
Learn mindfulness with tools to track your mood & health, helping you improve your mental as well as physical health.
Started by a Buddhist monk, this app teaches meditation and mindfulness.
Science based games and activities, that will you reduce stress, improve resilience, and build a positive mind.
Connect with leading medical experts through telephonic or video consultations, when you feel the need to talk to a professional.
Designed to make you feel better, whether you’re dealing with depression, anxiety, or stress.
Also, check – 5 Essential Healthcare Apps You Need Now!
WHO Recommendation on Mental Health Issues During Coronavirus
For General Public
WHO has recommended people to minimize reading and watching news regarding COVID-19 that may cause them to feel anxious or stressed out. Everyone must get their dose of information on Coronavirus from credible sources to be able to take an informed decision and protect themselves and those around them. Avoid a constant stream of news and information through the day and watch or read the news maybe once or twice a day.
Assist and help out those around you. This will benefit not just the person you are helping but even yourself, in this time of crisis.
For Healthcare Workers
It is extremely important for healthcare professionals to keep their physical as well as mental health in check.
Ensure you get enough rest despite the busy shifts, engage in a physical activity, eat balanced & healthy foods, stay connected with family & friends, and avoid tobacco & alcohol. Make use of the strategies you usually use to combat stress. Remember that it is crucial you stay psychologically well to be able to give a hundred percent to deal with the crisis on hand.
As an initiative by the Indian government, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences has launched a toll free helpline number for those seeking counselling or who may be going through mental health problems in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Government Helpline Number (Toll Free): 08046110007
We are in this together!
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