‘’As much as we want to plan our life, it has its own way to surprise us with unexpected things that transform our lives completely in a different way.’’ A great mental health crisis has been initiated.
The COVID-19 or novel corona-virus has quickly wrapped the world in its heyday. It has changed our daily routine and the way we interact with each other. Cities are shutdown. There are no social, economic, or business activities at all, and people are engaged in social distancing.
Mental Health Crisis:
Today we can summarize the bewildering reality for millions of people in these four words:
All these factors are promoting ‘’Mental Health Crisis’’. People are wondering how they would pay their rent, bills, and insurance in case of wide spreading unemployment, others are worried about their elderly parents and grandparents, and School seniors are praying to see their friends and community once again.
- Are you also feeling more alone than ever?
- Experiencing your surroundings super quite!
- Got laid off your job?
- Or simply bored?
If any of the above situation is true, then possibly there are more chances for you to be the victim of a severe mental health crisis.
What is a mental health crisis?
The entire world is going through a physical health crisis in the form of COVID-19, but it is no longer deniable that the mental health crisis is also surrounding us quietly. The mental crisis is a condition or situation that disrupts mood, thinking, daily performance, feelings, and ability of a person to relate with others. This mental illness is independent of an individual’s character or intelligence. As the improper working of pancreases causes diabetes, the mental health crisis is the disorder of the brain that makes it harder to cope with the ordinary demands of life. So, no one can blame anyone for this mental situation, not any person, family, friend, or group of people.
‘’Mental health crisis is a non-life threatening situation in which a person experiences an intensive psychiatric, emotional, or behavioral response’’.
This response is triggered by a precipitating event or situation. The person can harm to self or others, functionally compromised, agitated, out of reach with realty or disoriented, and unable to be calmed. In the untreated crisis situation, it could result in a mental health emergency.
Symptoms of a mental health crisis:
Symptoms of a mental health crisis can be similar or may overlap in times of crisis. Some of the examples of symptoms are:
Change In Behavior:
In behavioral changes, forgetfulness, hyperactivity or inactivity, rapid or noticeable weight gain or loss, alcohol and drug abuse, no sleep for several nights in a row, unusual sensitivity to light, clothing, noises, and bizarre behavior.
Doing nothing for a longer period of time, sitting at a place for hours without any reason, unusual self-centeredness, self-absorption, and decline in academic, professional, or athletic performance are indications of social withdrawal.
Mood and thoughts disturbance:
A frequent change is mood and thoughts show the condition of a mental health crisis. The symptoms include deep sadness, not associated with recent circumstances, hopelessness, depression prolonged than two weeks, pessimism, excessive fatigue, thinking or talking about suicide, irrational statements, paranoia, suspiciousness, or excessive fear.
Feelings with irregular expressions:
Some irregular behavioral or expression changes also indicate the issue of a mental health crisis such as the inability to express joy, hostility with people, who are usually friendly and pleasant, and laughter or crying at inappropriate times.
How has COVID-19 generated the global health crisis?
Although COVID-19 is a risk to physical health, for the general public, it is rising up as a global mental health crisis too. Loss of livelihood and lives, increased health care cost, economic slowdowns, lack of information, over information or misinformation, uncertainty, separation from loved ones, and isolation are the factors transforming this pandemic into mental health illness.
Trauma, fear, anxiety, and grief are very strong emotions of human behavior, and theses sentiments impact our mental health badly. In this situation of crisis, our brain is not excepting the burden of these negative emotions all at once.
Human touch has therapeutic, comforting, and painkilling effect. It is human nature that no matter how fleeting a physical touch is, but a touch from someone we trust leaves a lasting impact on our physical and mental wellbeing. Additionally, COVID-19 has snatched the freedom of touch from us, and we can only independently interact with those living with us. In the case of being infected, the only option is self-quarantine.
Even as a member of an essential service or going out for groceries, we need to make social distancing and avoid physical contact to stay protected from infection. This is so frustrating and causing mental instability even in healthy people. For the people with already existing mental illness, the entire situation is getting worse.
Is there anything we can do to deal with a mental health crisis?
‘’Life is ironic; it takes noises to appreciate silence, sadness to know happiness, and absence to value presence.’’
According to psychologists and health care professionals, positivity in thoughts and actions is the only way to cope with any crisis situation. As deputy managing director of Aster DM Healthcare, Alisha Moopen says;
‘’COVID-19 outbreak is nature’s way of forcing us to slow down. Let us take heed, reflect, and respond responsibly.’’Alisha Moopen
Role of Mental Health:
Mental health impacts productivity that drives productivity and helps the socio-economic canvas of the country. This rapid disastrous situation has changed the entire situation within no time.
We have adopted a bunkered approach in a jolt, and this is driving us toward more self-focused and inward-looking. This sudden change in mental approach has confused the mind productivity and ability of the human brain to respond towards the crisis in a more appropriate way.
This is the time to introduce a win-win approach to move towards a constructive solution to the problem. The mental health crisis is not an issue to be addressed in a piecemeal manner. It requires concerted collective efforts from health care professionals, health care workers, policymakers, and civil society.
Ways to manage mental health during COVID-19:
It is true that in managing the situation like COVID-19 outbreak, feeling worried or overwhelmed is easy and natural. Everyone needs to focus on ways to slow down the spread of the virus, however learning ways to manage mental health is also crucial.
We understand there is so much too worried about; uncertainty about the future, going through a sense of scarcity, concerns about xenophobia or increased stigmatization, and experiencing rapid Change in social plans and lifestyle all are reasons to increase feelings of depression. While feeling impatience, anxiety, powerlessness, or frustration is completely normal and expected, there are many ways to increase self-resilience in this hard time:
Be close to your loved ones in a time of social distancing:
Create new traditions of being social in a different way. Be connected with family, friends, and peers via technology. Call your friend, family member, or a co-worker, check in with your people, use WhatsApp, messaging, or any video format to communicate.
Take care of yourself:
Times of high stress can bring out the best or worst in people. Being the best is wonderful, but the worst side is also natural and completely understandable. Although it is ‘’OK’’ to overeat, oversleep, or cry under the shower, trying to be mindful about your actions and feelings is more important. Realize the fact that it is the situation for maximum people around the world, and you are not the only one. Forgive yourself for times when you are not the best version of yourself.
Give more time to mediation, take long deep breaths, do stretching, and make exercise an essential part of your modified quarantine routine. Try to take well-balanced meals, get plenty of sleep, and strictly avoid the consumption of alcohol and drugs. This healthy routine will boost your immunity and allow you to stay resilient.
Staying updated is good, but take a break from the news:
After a certain point staying updated is more upsetting than informational. Always being in touch with news related to COVID-19 can also make you frustrated and anxious. Only rely on a non-sensational and reputable source of information and evaluate how much is enough for you to know in a day. Try to involve yourself in some enjoyable activities that you love to do. Spend quality time with your family and kids to be re-energized and unwind you to stay away from string depressing feelings.
Reach out to your support network:
Family and friends are our support system, and in normal circumstances, it is difficult for us to stay connected with them. In this tough time, strengthen your relationship with your loved ones, professional colleagues, spiritual group, or even with GOD is the right approach to go with.
No need to ignore your thoughts and feelings:
The main cause of a mental health crisis is negligence towards your thoughts and feelings. Being scared, frustrated, depressed, or worried is natural. Hiding your emotions and pretending to be happy or careless is not the way to deal with thoughts and feelings. Accept the presence of some darkness inside you and then try to cope with it. Denying a situation and then fighting against it can be more problematic.
Try to get outside at least once in a day:
Go out of the closed environment of your house, even it is just a walk around your backyard, or spend time sitting at the terrace or in your balcony. If nothing is possible or you are at more risk (immune-compromised), simply open the window to get fresh air that always feels nice.
Make a self-care toolkit:
This is the best way to cope with COVID-19 mental side effects. Self-care toolkit can be different for everyone according to their likes and dislikes. Fill this kit with tools that involve your maximum sensory components:
- Write a diary to release frustration inside you and always try to find one good thing that happens with you in a day to stay positive.
- Listen to your favorite music to relax.
- Additionally, see your loved ones or their photo album for sight relaxation.
- Moreover, you can cook favorite food or eat a snack you like most.
- Keep your favorite toy or any other stuff that makes you feel happy when you touch it.
Change your mental approach; take COVID-19 crisis positively:
Frankly speaking, this is not an educational post by LKKG this time. It is a way to connect with our readers in a more natural way. By using the platform of LKKG, we are trying to educate you that sometimes a situation we think of as ‘’bad’’ is actually putting us on a path to the good things that could possibly happen to us.
In this difficult time of social distancing, isolation, and self-quarantine, it is time to calm down. This stillness and silence are motivating us to be more aware of the needs of our body and soul. This slow down in our physical activities externally and internally is helping our body and brain tremendously to manage stressful situations in a better way. It is not the time of being tense, anxious, and shattered, but let the healing process happen naturally.
- Do you remember when you had spent maximum time in offering morning prayers?
- When was the last time you enjoyed rain in front of your window?
- When was the last time you ask your grandma to tell you a story or your children or grandchildren has spent some quality time with you?
It is time to revive the traditions once again. It is time to go back to the roots and to introduce our new generation with the actual happiness and beauty of life. Moreover, it can be a golden chance to relate the benefits of technology to join the broken connections.
This was all form this week’s LKKG. We hope with this post, we have touched your hearts and generated a better sense of understanding the mental health crisis situation in the COVID-19 outbreak. What you have learned from your experience of isolation and quarantine, please do share with us.
Stay isolated to be safe, but remain connected with people in a protected way to stay mentally healthy too.