Considerations for our mental wellbeing during COVID-19 outbreak
It’s important that we look after our own wellbeing, and the wellbeing of others at all times. During an outbreak of disease like COVID-19 it’s inevitable that the need to look after our wellbeing is heightened – and we mustn’t forget that this involves our mental wellbeing. Outbreak of diseases and heightened media attention can cause stress, fear and anxiety amongst communities.
Based on information from WHO, we’ve put together advice on how to look after our own mental health wellbeing and support others too.
Looking after our own mental wellbeing during the outbreak:
Avoid or limit your exposure to news that might make you feel anxious or distressed about the situation. Remember that during an outbreak we have heightened media attention and social media platforms which isn’t always helpful for everyone. Establish the facts from rumour by using the WHO website and your local health authority platforms.
Protect yourself and be kind to yourself. Follow health authority advice and consider doing activities that you know are good for your own mental health wellbeing. Here are five actions that can improve our personal wellbeing: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/five-ways-to-mental-wellbeing
Connect with others. If you have self-isolated, or know someone who is, use digital platforms as a way to connect and try and stay in your daily routine as well as possible.
Exercise regularly, get good sleep and eat healthy food. All of these are proven to go a long way in helping our own wellbeing.
Looking after others mental wellbeing during the outbreak:
Advise people the factual platforms to gather information about COVD-19: WHO website. If someone seems distressed about the news, suggest that they limit the amount they access news and explain how media attention will be heightened during outbreaks – and that not all news is necessary factual. It is important that people seek the correct advice from official health authorities
Do not in any situation label. Don’t associate COVID-19 to any nationality or ethnicity. Don’t label those who have had COVID-19 with words such as ‘victims’ and ‘diseased’. Be empathetic and supportive to others.
Use positive news stories where possible to give hope to those who have heightened fear about COVID-19
If you are caring for children there a few things to consider which may help their mental wellbeing. Give honest and appropriate information, including information on hygiene and be kind and use positive stories about Covid-19 if they are showing fear about the outbreak. Keep children as close to their family and caregivers as possible, if considered safe and healthy for the child. Maintain daily routines as well as possible and stay connected – use other ways of contact such as phoning, video calling or social media if you are unable to communicate in person due to self-isolation or feeling unwell.
Other useful resources:
More guidance on looking after our mental wellbeing: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/mental-health-considerations.pdf?sfvrsn=6d3578af_2
Latest information from WHO on where COVID-19 is spreading: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports/
Advice and guidance from WHO: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 https://www.epi-win.com/