How to cope with psychological health during Covid-19 crisis? | Sunday Observer

How to cope with psychological health during Covid-19 crisis?

12 June, 2021

Covid-19 is a pandemic which has been affecting people worldwide. This occurred in the year 2019 spreading around the world, and at present, the situation has become even more critical.

Because of the dire situation of the diseases, several restrictions have been introduced worldwide and in Sri Lanka such as social distancing, self-isolation, self-quarantine, lockdowns, closure of educational institutes, workplace /career changes (working from home), sudden /temporary unemployment, home-school of children, travel restrictions, entertainment cancellations and prohibition of public gatherings etc., to reduce having a larger number of patients.

Though these restrictions are mandatory, these have a negative impact on psychological health on individuals in short-term and long-term.

The most common psychological reactions related to Covid-19 restrictions can be considered as the fear, anxiety, sadness, emotional strain, irritability, stress, mood alterations, post-traumatic stress symptoms, anger, emotional exhaustion, confusion, grief, numbness and isolation-depression. Behavioral changes due to due to Covid-19 can occur. People might develop individualistic and selfish attitudes towards the society. Since persons are requested to stay at home taking care of only themselves without mingling with others might have increased these sort of behaviors.

Likewise, persons might show attentive hand washing, avoiding crowded places and delay in returning to normality. Persons might develop hopelessness, emptiness, difficulties in setting goals and exhaustion when they don’t engage themselves in quality work.

Due to the separation from their loved ones, inability of having proper communication, loss of freedom, uncertainty of the future, fear of death and losing family members might lead them to develop unstable minds.

Unpredictable financial shortages and economic disasters might lead them to develop stresses. Closure of organisations and unemployment issues might have a tendency in developing psychological health concerns.

This is especially common among parents who have small children as dependents and when parents are unable to provide proper shelter, food and education.

Stigmatisation has a negative impact on psychological health.

Persons who are released from quarantine can experience stigmatisation and develop psychological health concerns. People who recently recovered might have to exercise social distancing from family members, friends and relatives to ensure their family’s safety.

Most vulnerable individuals are more prone to these psychological health concerns since the psychological state of individuals differs from person-to-person based on their family and academic backgrounds, and professional and social standings.

Different age groups

Different age groups respond to these crises differently. Furthermore, persons who live in independent houses and apartments respond to Covid- 19 differently. The elderly and differently abled people are more prone to psychological health concerns since their immune system is weak and also due to their other underlying health concerns. Elders might show irritating behaviours, sleep disturbances and emotional outbursts.

Persons who are already suffering from psychological disorders might increase their psychological symptoms encouraging self-isolation even more.

Children are at a higher risk by being away from their school and friends; they too can experience anxiety, distress, and social isolation.

Children who are in an abusive environment can show annoying behavior, increased sadness, excessive crying, worrying, concentration difficulties, avoiding past activities, eating problems, unexpected headaches and pains. Medical health practitioners might too develop psychological health concerns such as fear of catching diseases, excessive working hours, unavailability of protective medical equipment, unavailability of effective medicines, death of their colleagues, isolation from their families, overloaded patients and dire situation of their patients. A clear understanding of the gravity of psychological health concerns due to Covid-19 is required. Spending quality time with family members is highly essentials. Parents and caregivers should provide a special attention to the children by providing accurate situation of the crisis in an affirmative way, encourage them to engage themselves in healthy activities and contribute to their studies.

Children from dual-earning-families and children from adolescent age might not welcome these changes or might not welcome their parents and/or caregivers to interfere into their activities.

This sudden interference might provoke them to display aggressive and violent behavior towards their family members.

Conflicts might occur due to the diversity among family members which might direct them to have violence and aggressive behaviors.

Conflicts among husbands and wives are more critical which encourage them to abuse their partners psychologically and emotionally which has a long-term impact on both sides.

The occurrence of violence against women, child abuse and intimate partner violence might increase due to Covid-19 restrictions.

This is where the involvement of different healthy exercises and sports activities such as a reading, singing, listening to music, dancing and drawing plays a major role in individuals’ lives.

After the loss of their normal life styles, it is highly essential to participate in such activities. However, if a person is not used to engage in such involvements, it is difficult to develop such healthy exercises within a very short period of time.

Relevant authorities need to provide psychological health support to the needy individuals.

The involvement of counsellors and psychologists in this difficult time is highly appropriate. While maintaining the Covid-19 restrictions, they can provide counseling services to the neediest people via social and electronic media.

However, it is essential to develop self-motivation to direct one’s self to face new changes and to adapt these new changes.

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