There is no doubt the coronavirus is affecting peoples mental health. Such is the case for disease outbreaks like coronavirus. This period can be scary and the anxiety surrounding the pandemic is actually affecting our mental health.
As the world continues to put measures on how to fight coronavirus, the crisis has led to a high rate of mental health conditions. Lack of normal routines like going to work, school, visiting friends and above all shaking of hands, are factors that have contributed to mental health conditions.
According to Dr Edith Kwoba, a psychologist in Moi teaching and referral hospital, this has been the lifestyle but now it has to change due to coronavirus crisis.
“For teenagers, it is even worse. They were used to going to school, visit each other, holding parties but now it is no more”, says Dr Kwoba.
Victor Mwanzu is a final year student at Moi University Eldoret. He is pursuing journalism and mass communication.
“It is not easy to change lifestyle overnight. My studies have been affected so much since no classes are going on. I sometimes wake up to prepare for my classes then I remember no school,” explains Victor.
“As media students, we are expected to and defend projects but now that cannot happen to make me stressed on whether the graduation will take place or not”, adds victor.
“No more discussions, parties and visiting of friends, which leads to boredom”, explains Victor.
Boredom is a fertile ground for mental health complications.
Wendy Ruth, a mother of two and works in a salon. Her business has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. This has resulted in stress due to lack of money to sustain her family.
“Following the directives from the ministry of health especially on social distancing, most of my clients have cancelled their appointments, rendering me jobless”, adds Wendy.
According to Dr Kwoba, these are some of the things that may affect mental health.
Dr Kwoba argues that we need to care for our mental health especially during this time.
“This is when we really need to sieve what we hear or read from social media. There is too much fake news circulating that leads to panic and anxiety,” explains Dr Kwoba.
These are some of the ways that COVID-19 affects our mental health according to Dr Kwoba.
- Distress can cause anxiety disorders and depression.
- People with pre-existing mental conditions may relapse and in some cases, lack adequate care including medication.
- Social distancing and physical isolation of individuals, families or communities exposed to COVID-19 lead to psychosocial problems.
- Lack of income generation due to work restrictions, retrenchments and the collapse of businesses may lead to depression.
According to the World health organization, there are some things one can do to avoid mental disorders as we continue to fight COVID-19.
- Have a positive mind that we shall overcome. No matter the information from the ministry of health on the rise of COVID-19 victims, tell yourself that all is well.
- Avoid speculation and try to look up verified and trusted sources on the outbreak. Anxiety is fueled by fake news. To be able to feel more in control, one needs to get true information about the pandemic.
- Minimize watching, reading or listening to news about COVID-19
- Do not refer to people with the disease as “COVID-19 cases”, “victims” “COVID-19 families” or “the diseased”. They are “people who have COVID-19”, “people who are being treated for COVID-19”, or “people who are recovering from COVID-19”, and after recovering from COVID-19 their life will go on with their jobs, families and loved ones. It is important to separate a person from having an identity defined by COVID-19, in order to reduce stigma.
- Identify things that make you feel good for instance, eating healthy food, keeping moving by going out for walks or exercising can help us to feel good.
If you don’t remember anything else you have read on this post, then remember this one thing ”Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning how to dance in the rain.”- Author Vivian Greene.