As we continue to monitor the spread and impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) worldwide, we urge all partners/stakeholders to consider the mental health needs of vulnerable persons in your communities. Misinformation, undue panic and stigmatization can significantly impact the way persons respond and experience this global emergency.
As you are aware, persons with chronic diseases and the elderly are most likely to have severe experiences with COVID-19. Therefore it is critical to continue to promote good personal hygiene and cough etiquette to reduce the risk of exposure. Additionally, the elderly, children and persons with disabilities in our communities may require additional support in navigating the implications of this pandemic, notwithstanding your own mental health needs.
The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.
People who may respond more strongly to this situation include:
- Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19;
- Children and teens;
- People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders;
- People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use;
COPING WITH STRESS
- It is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or angry.
- Talking to people you trust can help. Call your friends and family.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle at home – including proper diet, sleep, exercise and social contacts with loved ones by email and phone.
- Don’t use smoking, alcohol or drugs to deal with your emotions.
- Get the facts. Gather information from credible sources such as the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Communications and the World Health Organization.
- Limit worry and agitation by lessening the time you and your family spend listening to media coverage that you may perceive as upsetting.
- Draw on skills you have used in the past that have helped you to manage previous life’s adversities and use those skills to help you manage your emotions and challenging time of this pandemic.