Editorial: Caring for your mental health

WITH all the news on the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the public is getting anxious and stressed over what they are hearing or reading. This anxiousness and stress are being further aggravated by social media.

If they are not doing much at home, many usually find themselves scrolling through social media on their digital devices. Aside from the TikToks, memes, and food posts from friends, there are fake news on Covid-19, conspiracy theories, challenges the country is facing in dealing with the disease, and the latest updates on the disease from official sources.

The level of stress the pandemic is bringing to the general population and those in the frontlines, our mental health is also at risk. Hence, we also have to take care of it just like how we are caring for ourselves physically amid the pandemic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has provided some recommendations on how one can care for their mental health.

One of these is "minimize watching, reading or listening to news about Covid-19 that causes you to feel anxious or distressed; seek information only from trusted sources and mainly so that you can take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones."

"Seek information updates at specific times during the day, once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried. Get the facts; not rumors and misinformation," WHO said.

It added that the public should "gather information at regular intervals from the WHO website and local health authority platforms in order to help you distinguish facts from rumors."

"Facts can help to minimize fears," it said.

The health agency also recommends that while scrolling online, they also read up on stories that are hopeful or spread positivity. It also urged the public to be supportive of one another during this time of crisis.

The British government in its Covid-19 guidelines on mental health suggested some ways one can take care of their mental health. One of those suggestions is to do things that you enjoy.

"Focusing on your favorite hobby, learning something new or simply taking time to relax indoors should give you some relief from anxious thoughts and feelings and can boost your mood," it stated.

Lastly, while it is normal to feel worried, anxious, and concerned during these times, make sure to look for someone to talk to.

"It is quite common to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember that this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope with family and friends can help them too," the British government said.

Here in Davao Region, if you need someone to talk to, the Department of Health-Davao (DOH-Davao) has opened hotlines for mental health and psychosocial support services. You may call them from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 0977-760 -8610 and 0956-815-1493 for Globe subscribers; 0939-768-3627 for Smart; and 0933-404-1070 and 0933-404-1072 for Sun. They can also be reached at 0951-516-5630 (Talk n' Text) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday.


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