COVID19 & Mental Health: Effects and tips to keep our mind healthy
Bipin Kumar Yadav
As the days are passing, the numbers of CoVID-19 cases are also increasing (Currently 304 cases, 2 deaths) in our country Nepal. The most effective way to break the chain of infection is to continue lockdown in the country. The Nepal government has decided to extend the lockdown till Jestha 20 (2nd June) to reduce the transmission of disease in the country. On the contrary, the lockdown may bring or have brought many mental effects or problems in the people. It will have an extreme effect on the mental health of the people.
According to the study done by Transcultural Psychosocial Organization (TPO), 25% of the surveyed people said that they were facing psychosocial problems due to CoVID-19 pandemic. There has been an increase in the number of patients seeking help for anxiety, panic attacks and depression according to a psychologist at TPO Nepal.
The disturbances in the social life, interruption in the daily routine of people, staying away from friends, family or peer support group have made people to feel lonely and think unwanted things which leads to depression and eventually will be the reason of suicide.
Psychologists also say that, people may show trauma related mental health disorder or Post traumatic stress symptoms like nightmares, Panic attacks, eating disorder, cognitive delay and severe anxiety.
According to a psychology professor at St. Joseph’s evening college, Bengaluru, the CoVID- 19 situation can trigger the symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) like washing hands, sanitizing door handles, etc.
People may also face the substance use disorder, as many people are taking alcohol and substance to cope with the stress and anxiety during the lockdown.
The people who will be mainly affected during this lockdown will be businessmen who are bearing loss due to lockdown, students due to postponed exams (SEE students and +2 students), health professionals, farmers and daily wage workers due to financial crisis.
Mental health and physical health are always related. Mental health directly affects our physical health (like poor mental health is a risk factor for chronic physical condition).
So what should we do to keep our mind healthy? Here are some tips to keep our mind healthy during lockdown:
- Minimizing our screen time; if we are turning to social media in high doses, then we can be mentally devastated by listening the unhealthy news about CoVID-19 happening outside.
- Being hopeful; we should remind ourselves that we are not alone and this period will not last forever and everything will be fine.
- Enjoy a healthy diet and have a good exercise; we should have a good breakfast, drink water, have a healthy snack and eat a balanced diet and have a good exercise in home. It will help us to be physically fit and will directly affect our mental health.
- Connect with others; we should keep in touch with friend and people who support us, through phone calls or any social media platforms. It will help us to feel better.
- Spend time in balcony or terrace; spending time in balcony or terrace to go those lonely feelings and intrusive thoughts.
- Learn new skills; we can learn new skills like cooking, learning musical instruments, etc. which will make our mind busy and help to be mentally healthy.
- Reading books and listening to music; it can help to change our mood and feel better.
- Drink less alcohol and avoid all other drugs; many people have started to take alcohol to cope stress during lockdown which can lead to problem like urge to drink, addiction problem and withdrawal symptoms after leaving alcohol.
- Maintain good sleep hygiene; Sleep is essential to physical health and our immune system which will also affect our mental health. We should fix our wake up time and bed time which should be consistent. Sleep is also a promoter of emotional wellness and help to beat stress, depression and anxiety.
It is clear that lockdown have had or will affect the mental health of the people. When it comes to mental Health, our country is late to react or ignores it. It is still a stigma in our society and communities. We still are afraid to talk about our mental conditions.
Our country can educate people about expected mental impact and reactions and make people understand that it is normal and can also launch a website to address mental issues during the lockdown and provide services for people showing acute mental problems.
Bipin Kumar Yadav, BPH, 5th Semester, National Academy for Medical Sciences, Purbanchal University
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