Last January 2020, the World Health Organization declared an outbreak of a new coronavirus disease which originated in the province of Hubei, China. All over the globe, public health authorities are doing their best on containing the disease from spreading.
Since the cases of COVID-19 are increasing rapidly in the country, our government decided to implement a community quarantine in the metro. A week after, President Rodrigo Duterte declared the entire Luzon area under ‘enhanced community quarantine, which is effectively a total lockdown, restricting the movement of the population.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this time of crisis is generating stress in the population. People may be feeling afraid, worried, anxious and overwhelmed by the constantly changing alerts and media coverage regarding the spread of the virus.
Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and can take a toll on our entire physical and mental well-being. Here are a few things you can do to support yourself:
1. Limit your exposure to different media coverage
Avoid watching, reading or listening to news that cause you to feel anxious or distressed; seek information mainly to take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones. Get updates at specific times during the day once or twice.
2. Get the facts.
Gather information at regular intervals, from WHO website and local health authorities platforms, in order to help you distinguish facts from rumors.
3. Connect with others.
Assisting others in their time of need can benefit the person receiving support. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
4. Honor caretakers and healthcare workers
Support the people affected with COVID-19 in your community. Acknowledge the role that everyone plays to save lives and keep your loved ones safe.
5. Take Breaks
Take breaks from your daily routine. Take deep breaths, stretch or meditate. This will allow yourself to feel refreshed. Get plenty of sleep too.
The Department of Health (DOH) has a national crisis hotline to assist people with mental health concerns ranging from counseling to psychiatric emergencies and suicide prevention.
The hotline is operated by the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH), which has trained respondents to properly deal with people with mental health issues 24/7.
The hotline can be reached through the following numbers:
According to Duque, “the hotline aims to send a message to those with mental health issues that they are not alone. It’s okay to not be okay…. There is hope. Recovery is possible and there should be no shame in getting help.”