Mental health awareness during COVID-19

Nusrat Jahan Pritom

18th May, 2020 09:14:59 printer

Mental health awareness during COVID-19

Institute of Epidemiology, Disease and Research Centre, Bangladesh (IEDCR,B) in their daily briefings put emphasis on preventive measures to be safe from COVID-19. Prof Nasima Sultana, additional director (admin) of the Directorate General of Health Service said in such a briefing, “I urge everybody to stay in quarantine. Avoid gatherings. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Don’t forget to stay optimistic.” She encouraged everybody not to panic rather to remain positive and optimistic. Doctors all around the world are saying the exact thing.

With lockdown extending over 50 days in the country, over 20,000 patients infected with it and over 300 death tolls, it is difficult to remain optimistic. Insecurity over jobs, financial loss and distance from family and friends make it even harder to remain positive. However, hope is the one thing we have now that can help us get over such difficult times.

Medical science has found astounding results on immunity and stress. A study conducted by John Hopkins experts have found that positive thinking truly has a lot of power and can even boost up immunity. They have found better resilience in patients with cardiovascular diseases who remain positive. Experts around the world also suggest immunity to be stronger against the virus when the patient in question remains mentally strong. Resilience is a process that really begins inwards.

As people across the globe try to find ways to cope with the novel coronavirus, a Turkish quantum thinking technique trainer Anil Sehirlioglu is urging positive thought as one powerful tool against the disease. Speaking to Anadolu Agency, she said that amid the pandemic, people should pay attention to their mental health as much as what they eat and drink.

There are many other proponents of her beliefs all around the world in both scientific and religious fields. In Bangladesh, for example, around 4,373 people have so far recovered from the virus. The recovery rate is much higher in other countries. However, the point to be noted is that the majority of the patients usually recover from the virus. It can be a traumatic experience for a corona patient to be afflicted by a disease that has already taken three million lives worldwide. On top of it, this disease has no cure. A strong mental framework followed by good habits and a great immunity are our only line of defense.

For someone who has already been affected by the virus, it is best to visualize happy results. He or she can talk to her family members over phone or social media. He or she can eat plenty of fruits with vitamins and strictly follow the doctor’s advises. At the same time, the patient can remain hopeful as it will help the immune system work better.

While positive thinking is good, naivety should be discouraged. Optimism involves coming up with various strategies to avoid depression and anxiety during lockdown. It should not only explore coping mechanisms but also emphasize preventive measures, thus avoiding outdoors and gatherings and following habits such as washing hands all day.

Another important thing positive thinking will inspire is diversion. It is possible to feel fed up of staying home during lockdown. However, the virus is merciless and it will not retire its motives even if we are tired or bored. Being optimistic is all about using these hours for things more creative and versatile, that are safe and can be done at home. Somebody could explore her cooking or art skills. Somebody could get in touch with their passion for singing or writing. All these things can be done right at quarantine.

Besides, being positive ourselves, we should also inspire optimism in the children at home. Parents can look after their studies during lockdown and also engage in different fun, activities. After all, it is a great opportunity for the young and old to connect.