SELFCARE, MENTAL HEALTH AND COPING DURING THE PANDEMIC
Currently, a global public mental health emergency is the popular corona virus disease. As a matter of fact many people are dying, some are in quarantine others in extreme hunger, and others are suffering mental disorders. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness. The COVID-19
Self-care is any activity that we deliberately do in order to take care of mental, emotional and physical health. Self -care should be broaden especially during this pandemic period where people are encouraged to protect themselves against covid19 without necessarily being reprimanded by authorities. For example anyone is expected to always properly wear a face-mask whenever he is outdoors even in the absence of a police officer, to avoid unnecessary movements, washing hands very often or use of hand sanitizer and so on. Anyone should include obeying guidelines for protection against covid19 as a self-care not as a burden so as to protect himself or herself as well as others.
Mental health is the level of psychological wellbeing or absence of illness. During this pandemic period, mental health of many people is disturbed meaning that their mental state is not stable. As a matter of fact many are facing different mental disorders .Different categories of mental disorders victims include the general population, covid19 cases, family members and close contacts of the sick people, Healthcare workers, or Special Population (Old Age and Co-morbidities).
Among General Population
As the COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading rapidly across the globe, the foremost mental health issue has raised the level of stress or anxiety expressed in public mental health term. The general population can experience fear and anxiety of being sick or dying, helplessness, blame the people who are already affected and precipitate the mental breakdown.
Among COVID-19 Cases
The suspected and/or confirmed COVID-19 persons, largely experience fear regarding the high contagiousness and fatality. The quarantined people feel bored, loneliness, anger, depression, anxiety, denial, despair, insomnia, harmful substance use, suicidal behavior. The survivors are the high-risk people to develop a wide range of mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and PTSD. A recent study of 1210 participants from 194 cities in China reported that 53.8% had a moderate or severe psychological impact, 31.3% had some sort of depression, 36.4% had some sort of anxiety and 32.4% had some sort of stress.
Among Family Members and Close Contacts
Along with the victims or the dead people as a result of COVID-19, the family members and close contacts face psychological problems as they have been traced, isolated or quarantined which makes them anxious and guilty regarding the aftermath of the contagion, quarantine and stigma on their family members and friends.
Among Healthcare Workers
As pandemics are the global public mental health emergency, healthcare services demand increases sharply. Furthermore, many countries do not have adequate manpower as well as resources to cope with COVID-19. Thus, healthcare providers have to face an increased workload with the fear of being infected. Many times, they have been quarantined when they contact COVID-19-confirmed persons.
A recent study involving 1563 health professionals reported that more than half (50.7%) of the participants reported depressive symptoms, 44.7% anxiety and 36.1% sleep disturbance. Moreover, there are not adequate services to provide counselling and psychiatric screening services for anxiety, depression and suicidal behavior) for physicians who have been dealing with infected persons.
Among Special Population (Old Age and Co-morbidities)
As this pandemic has been spreading rapidly across the world, it is bringing a considerable degree of fear, worry and concern among few certain groups particularly, in older aged people and people with underlying comorbid disorders. It has a potential impact on the existing diseases, and the affected persons may lead to psychiatric symptoms which possibly related to the interplay of mental disorders and immunity.
To cope with covid19, individuals should not get exposed to media coverage too much, to maintain a healthy relationship, get in touch with friends and family members on a regular interval using social media and start thinking positively. If coronavirus anxiety shows up, a person should try to share the fear with others, which will calm the fear, and also try to get adequate sleep, exercising regularly and employing different relaxation techniques. As recommended by Ho et al. (2020) in this era of technology, healthcare services can introduce online psychological support services for those individuals who lost their close relatives due to COVID-19. To support the morale and mental health of the frontline healthcare professionals, healthcare organizations should introduce shorter working periods, regular breaks and rotating shifts. People can cope with the mental health challenges by adopting various lifestyle-related measures.
Therefore corona virus disease is a dangerous disease that is killing people .People should take it serious by protecting themselves against it. Individuals should take care of themselves and should broaden self-care meaning in a way that includes guidelines of protecting themselves against covid19 as part of it. During this pandemic period many people are affected that their mental state is unstable and are suffering from mental disorders. To cope with covid19 people must avoid too much exposure to media coverage and should obey guidelines established to protect themselves against the pandemic .Though currently there is no vaccine of covid19, together as one we shall live the normal life that existed before the pandemic.
Corona virus disease is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Covid19 is a very dangerous disease that can infect any unprotected person who contacts an infected or dead victim. Currently there is no vaccine for the disease, as a matter of fact it is essential for people to obey guidelines established by WHO for protecting themselves against covid19. It is important to broaden self -care especially during this pandemic period where people protect themselves against covid19 without necessarily being reprimanded by authorities. During this pandemic period, there are different categories of victims facing mental health disorders such as anxiety, anger, depression, anxiety, denial, despair, insomnia, harmful substance use, suicidal behavior. Those are the general population, covid19 cases, family members and close contacts of the sick people, Health workers, or Special Population (Old Age and Co-morbidities). To cope with corona virus people should include guidelines of protecting themselves against corona as part of self-care and also individuals should not get exposed to media coverage too much. In this era of technology, healthcare services can introduce online psychological support services for those individuals who lost their close relatives due to COVID-19. To support the morale and mental health of the frontline healthcare professionals, healthcare organizations should introduce shorter working periods, regular breaks and rotating shifts. Corona virus disease is real lets fight against it by protecting ourselves and others.
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2. Raphailia Michael, MA. (2018). what self-care is and what it isnt. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-self-care-is-and-what-it-isnt-2/
3. Wikipedia. (2020).Mental health. Retrieved from https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/mental_health
4. Sujita Kumar kar, S.M.Yasir Arafat and Shailendra K.Saxena. (2020). Among general population, among covid19 cases ,among family members and close contacts, among healthcare workers, among Special Population (Old Age and Co-morbidities)covid19 cases .coping with mental health challenges .retrieved from https://googleweblight.com/i?u=https%3A%2Fwww.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov%2fpmc%2Farticles%Fmpc7189395%2F&geid=NSTN&hl=en=US
Writer : UMUHUZA Faraja Judith from INES Ruhengeri