Coronavirus COVID-19 and Mental Health

The Coronavirus pandemic is / will affect people's mental health
in differing ways and to different degrees

 

Most if not all of us have not been through a similar situation before to reference, this in itself can create high levels of fear of the unknown, uncertainty and not being in control. Abnormal circumstances can affect people in different ways.    
 

  • It is normal in the current climate to feel anxious, concerned and worried however the impact of this can vary; subtle or highly noticeable. 
     

  • For some individuals the current evolving pandemic can affect their daily life to an extent that it will provoke high levels of worry, anxiety (including health anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), panic, stress, helplessness, depression and isolation.  
     

  • Others could experience emotional distress.

  • Some individuals might feel detached or disconnected. 

 

  • Others could experience Traumatic stress. 
     

An individual might notice and experience the following

  • Distress about uncertainty and not knowing what is going to happen.
     

  • Worrying constantly about future and thinking the worst is definitely going to happen.

 

  • Distress about how long current situation will continue for.

 

  • Worry / panic for not being in control of the current situation. 

  • Anxiety due to not being able to plan for now / future as they would normally do.  

 

  • Emotional distress.

  • Symptoms of Trauma stress (Retraumatisation or Secondary trauma).

The World Health Organisation released advice on protecting your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak including:
 

  • Avoid watching, reading or listening to news that causes you to feel anxious or distressed. Seek information to take practical steps to protect yourself and your family. Seek information at specific times, once or twice a day from reliable sources.
     

  •  Protect yourself and be supportive of others. Assisting others in their time of need can benefit both parties.

 

  • Try and focus on positive stories related to the outbreak, such as people who have recovered from infection.

 

  • Take care of yourself and your needs, ensure rest, eat healthily and exercise.
     

  • Engage with family and friends and keep to a regular routine as much as possible.

    Source (World Health Organization at www.who.int. Accessed on 21/03/2020).

Additional points to consider:

  • Have long periods away from news websites and social media.
     

  • Limit the time spent reading or watching news feeds that are not making you feel better.

 

  • Getting updates at specific times. 
     

  • Reading information from trusted sites, such as Government, NHS or World Health Organisation.
     

  • Talk to others about your concerns and worries.

  • Reminding yourself of what is within your control at present.

  • Keep to a routine as much as possible.

  • Following Government guidelines and by doing so contributing to benefit of everyone.  
     

Useful websites:

NHS at https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-staying-at-home-tips/

Government at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public 

World Health Organisation at https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/mental-health-considerations.pdf?sfvrsn=6d3578af_2

© Mona Noblett Psychotherapy 2018