COVID-19: Managing Our Mental Health

mental health sky

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Khulod Ali Saeed Bokir, a 3rd year medical student from Yemen at Hadhramout University Collage of Medicine ( HUCOM ). She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


On March 11, World Health Organization declared that the novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) outbreak a global Pandemic, on the other hand mental health disorders are invading the world as much as the virus did.

Pretty sure, you have had endless conversations these couple of months about COVID-19 outbreak as it fuels anxiety levels through the roof. The other day my friend and I were having a conversation which later escalated from assessing each other’s medical knowledge, to compare the numbers of infected people in her country and mine, which then led to her frankly telling me: “I have depression, and it’s affecting my life, pray for me”.

Worrying over your own health and your beloved ones, fear of getting infected due to underlying disease, witnessing the fallout of a global economy and the withhold of an unknown future are some reasons that have developed the rise of depression, and not to mention the myths and rumors that have been swirling around across social media platforms which lead to storms of anxiety disorders.

Through all of this chaos, we have to accept that we are living in a different rhythm of life, so here are ways to cope with stress:

-Take care of your body: take deep breaths, try to eat healthy, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep.

-Make time to unwind, try to do some other activities you enjoy.

-Connect with others, talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.[1]

-Minimize watching, reading or listening to news about COVID-19, no wonder hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting, only seek information updates at specific times during the day, once or twice.

-Before sharing any information about COVID-19 make sure that you gather the accurate information, by this way you can help make people feel less stressed.

-Find opportunities to amplify positive and hopeful stories who have experienced COVID-19. For example, stories of people who have recovered or who have supported a loved one and are willing to share their experience.

-Protect yourself and be supportive to others. Assisting others in their time of need can benefit both the person receiving support and the helper. For example, check by telephone on neighbors or people in your community who may need some extra assistance. Working together as one community can help to create solidarity in addressing COVID-19 together.[2]

As said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”. — George Santayana. There is a glimmer of hope brought up by lessons from past global pandemics, for instance: the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic showed that many lives have been saved due to social distancing and isolation of those individuals who are ill, which helped to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the disease.

References

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html

[2] WHO/2019-nCoV/MentalHealth/2020.1

About the author

Khulod Ali Saeed Bokir is a 3 rd year medical student from Yemen at Hadhramout University Collage of Medicine ( HUCOM ). He participated in in guiding freshmen medical students in Welcome to medical school project. He is spreading awareness by measuring BMI to people in the world’s diabetes day and his goal is to add a positive impact on public health day in his country.

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Comments

  1. Roqaia says:

    Very good coverage of this important side of the pandemic 👌🏻

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