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Mental health in the pandemic

Author
Amy Degenhardt
Category
Date
8 Mar 2022
2 min read

The Lancet physiatry journal indicates that mental disorders account for 18% of the global disease burden, highlighting that only a minority of those struggling with mental disorders receive minimally adequate treatment. This means that a significant portion of the world population struggles with mental health. Since the start of the pandemic, unemployment, financial instability, disruption to education, social isolation, and sudden loss of loved ones, have unfortunately become more common. These factors all increase the risk of mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

If the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is the importance of both the awareness, recognition and at times the fragility of mental health. Although many countries are showing a greater focus on the importance of mental health wellness, it is important for individuals to understand how they can take care of their own mental health.

There are many types of mental illnesses, such as:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Depression and bipolar mood disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia

For Adults

The increase in stress and pandemic-related pressures shouldn’t be underestimated. It is important for all individuals to be aware of the extra pressures that may be impacting them and take the necessary steps to gain support. The World Health Organization had created suggestions on how to take care of your mental health during these challenging times:

  • Stay informed by listening to advice and recommendations from your national and local authorities and trusted news channels.
  • Maintain a routine and have a reliable sleep schedule.
  • Take care of your physical health: Eat healthy meals at regular times and move your body
  • Make time for doing things you enjoy.
  • Stay connected to your friends and family.
  • Monitor your screen time and ensure that you take regular breaks from on-screen activities.
  • If possible, support people in your community who may need it.

For Children

Coping with a global pandemic is difficult for adults so coming to terms with the impact of COVID-19 and understanding what it means can be daunting for children. The World Health Organization (WHO) has created a book for children aged 6-11 to help support them through this difficult time, which you can download here.

Additionally, the WHO recommends:

  • Help children to find constructive and positive ways to express their feelings in their own way.
  • Help children maintain a close connection with their primary caregiver.
  • Maintaining familiar routines or creating new routines to provide children with stability.
  • Where possible, allow children to play and socialize in a safe manner.
  • Remember that during times of stress and crisis children may be more demanding or more attached to their primary caregiver.

The content in this communication is for information purposes and is not intended to be detailed advice, you should seek the advice of your physician or a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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