The COVID-19 outbreak is a pandemic that is having effects much greater than just an economic impact. Human beings by nature, are social. Scientific studies have shown that babies, when born, require human touch to maintain their sanity. The same is true for adults. We operate best in clusters and in support groups, and prolonged periods without social interaction is having greater effects on people’s psyches than is currently being noted.
As a people, we can feel each other’s emotions. If you spend enough time on social media for instance, you’ll be able to sense that although people have a general sense of calm about being home and in social isolation, there is an underlying tension that individuals have been somewhat expressing, even if its in a one to a few seconds clip on a medium like an Instastory. There are some people in the world, who actually are experiencing anxiety, stress and sadness.
While some losses are temporary, such as in the case of contracts that have paused or been delayed for a few months, there are some individuals who are dealing with losses of not only their loved ones, but their means of employment. This communal grief is something that we all have to be weary of. Watch your mindset every day.
According to a medical professional, the losses experiences are due to the fact that we feel that we have lost control of our ability to protect the susceptible from this epidemic. Home, a place that once was just a resting place and nest for nurturing our families, is now becoming the haven for everything that is our life experience.
While this level of communal grief is to be anticipated, take the time to ensure that you are taking action to sustain a healthy mental state. Live your life in gratitude, and allow yourself to bless your life and your families lives. You can do this, just stay calm, focused and healthy.
Below is a mandate from the World Health Organization
Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak
18 March 2020
In January 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of a new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. WHO stated that there is a high risk of COVID-19 spreading to other countries around the world. In March 2020, WHO made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.
WHO and public health authorities around the world are acting to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. However, this time of crisis is generating stress throughout the population. The considerations presented in this document have been developed by the WHO Department of Mental Health and Substance Use as a series of messages that can be used in communications to support mental and psychosocial well-being in different target groups during the outbreak.
Messages for the general population
1. COVID-19 has and is likely to affect people from many countries, in many geographical locations. When referring to people with COVID-19, do not attach the disease to any particular ethnicity or nationality. Be empathetic to all those who are affected, in and from any country. People who are affected by COVID-19 have not done anything wrong, and they deserve our support, compassion and kindness.
2. Do not refer to people with the disease as “COVID-19 cases”, “victims” “COVID-19 families” or “the diseased”. They are “people who have COVID-19”, “people who are being treated for COVID-19”, or “people who are recovering from COVID-19”, and after recovering from COVID-19 their life will go on with their jobs, families and loved ones. It is important to separate a person from having an identity defined by COVID-19, in order to reduce stigma.
3. 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 rumours and misinformation. Gather information at regular intervals from the WHO website and local health authority platforms in order to help you distinguish facts from rumours. Facts can help to minimize fears.
4. 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 neighbours 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.
5. Find opportunities to amplify positive and hopeful stories and positive images of local people 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.
6. Honour carers and healthcare workers supporting people affected with COVID-19 in your community. Acknowledge the role they play in saving lives and keeping your loved ones safe.