How to take care of your mental health in times of anxiety and panic?

With the number of people affected by COVID-19 over 7,000 rupees, the impact on the world population has been drastic. But while the physical impact has been largely discussed, the way the outbreak has affected people's mental health should also be considered.

The increasing numbers of confirmed cases and fatality, the spread of panic and fear in general, information overload, blocking and social distancing are reasons enough to overwhelm any individual. Despite the World Health Organization (WHO) raising the need to focus on mental health with a 31-point guidance note, social media has been abuzz with experts in the field urging everyone to recognize the need to preserve mental health along with physical health Panic, fear of information overload, and social estrangement have overwhelmed the public.

The importance of mental well-being during isolation.

With all socializing venues (shopping malls, theaters, restaurants) and even closed workplaces across the country to prevent the spread of the virus, experts say all information available online is widely accessed. At such times, one tends to ruminate all the information related to the pandemic, says psychiatrist Dr. Srikant Reddy. In a live broadcast Q&a,aiyshamalik,technicalofficer,whodepartmentofmentalhealthandsubstanceuse,alsosaid:itisreallyimportanttothinkofmentalhealthaspartofthepublichealthresponsetocovid-19.

onthesurface,itmayseemthatmanypeoplecanenjoythisfreetime,butexpertspointoutthataftertwoweeks,thefeelingofisolationgrowsinyouandhasadetrimentaleffectonmentalhealth.thenumberofpeopleshowingsignsofanxietyandpanichasincreasedsignificantly,andtheseareexcludingthosewhodonothavepre-existingmentalconditionsoreventhosewhoarequarantinedinmedicalfacilities.fearofuncertaintyaboutthediseasestatushascreatedaremarkablepsychologicalimpact,addsdr.reddy.

stressorsintimesofthecovid-19pandemic

-misinformationandinformationoverload.

-lackoftransparencyduringquarantine

-socialisolation

-caretobeapossiblecauseofinfectionbyanother

-stigmatizebasedonethnicity,travelhistoryorsymptoms.

socialdistancing:yes; socially offline - no

Experts suggest that while physical gatherings in public places are discouraged, counselors or support through social media and online platforms should be encouraged. Nyamat Chadha, a Mumbai psychologist who has been providing that support on social media, shares: The cost of the pandemic on mental health is quite visible. As anxiety levels are increasing, this situation is also causing conflict and unresolved trauma for some. In such a situation, we must prioritize mental health. She adds that the most important question that is generating anxiety is 'What if I have a positive result?' To this, consulting psychiatrist Dr. Abhishek Manmarde of Nagpur, who has been appointed by the government to provide advice to quarantined people, says: Loss of wages during quarantine, treatment at the medical center during that period, guilt for having probably affected others and, of course, the anxious wait to receive the results has also made people socially isolated in the mind. This is the time when you need to stay connected to stay healthy.

Hope floats through social media groups that are now available for people to eradicate their fears, vent, or even express sadness without being judged. One such group based in Nagpur has added some counselors who guide those in isolation. “The directors are divided into different time zones. Help can also be sought at 2am! In the future, we will create an Instagram page to reach more people, shares Dr. Abheek Ghosh, group administrator.

Get your correct data

In a study by the Department of Psychological Medicine, Kings College London, researchers say: If quarantine is essential, our results suggest that officials should take every step to make this experience as tolerable as possible for people. Experts in India also support the statement, saying that psychosocial support with transparency in information has to go hand in hand with quarantine. If a person is not given clarity on the duration, purpose, and step-by-step information of what they might face in quarantine, they will attempt to evade quarantine, or worse, will not self-report to medical facilities. This can be a risky situation, ”says Dr. Reddy. Also, Dr. Manmarde adds: “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are commonly diagnosed among those who have an unpleasant moment while in quarantine. Relieving their stressors by listening and providing correct information when isolated can reduce these cases. I would always encourage them to be socially online, but I would ask them to search for specific answers.

To stay mentally healthy during the pandemic ...

- Stay connected through chats, video calls

- Promote and support health workers.

- Start reading virtual books or cooking clubs to stay busy and stay connected

- Avoid watching continuous news cycles

- Seek professional help, if necessary

- Focus on positives, such as recovered cases

- With inputs of [email protected]

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