City Lit Blog

Protecting your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak

Story added 16th Mar 2020

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The constant flow of information, warnings and precautions on the coronavirus outbreak can take a real toll on your mental health. Being concerned about the news is understandable, but for many people it can make existing mental health problems worse. 

So how can we best protect our mental health? 

The World Health Organization advises on how to deal with stress and protect your mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Some of those recommendations include:

  • 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.

  • Watching, reading or listening to news that could cause you to feel anxious or distressed.

  • Seek information mainly to seek practical steps to prepare your plans and protect 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.

  • Take care of yourself at this time. Try to use helpful coping strategies such as ensuring sufficient rest and respite during work or between shifts, eat sufficient and healthy food, engage in physical activity, and stay in contact with family and friends. 

  • Older adults, especially in isolation and those with cognitive decline/dementia, may become more anxious, angry, stressed, agitated, and withdrawn during the outbreak/while in quarantine. Provide practical and emotional support through informal networks (families) and health professionals.

  • Keep regular routines and schedules as much as possible or help create new ones in a new environment, including regular exercising, cleaning, daily chores, singing, painting or other activities.

Read the full World Health Organisation report.

See the NHS advice on 'Mental wellbeing while staying at home'.


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