Acquiring the right information, taking enough precautions and trying to continue the daily routine will make you get over epidemics with minimum damage mentally
The coronavirus outbreak has become the most important topic of the world agenda within a short time. The damage caused by the virus was not only limited to the loss of life. It has also created many effects economically, socially and psychologically. In fact; many airway companies cancelled their ights, sports games were postponed to limit the effects of the disease, and public life areas such as hotels and restaurants in tourist attraction points have become desolate.
CORONAVIRUS ALSO THREATENS THE MENTAL HEALTH
The coronavirus outbreak threatens us physically as well as mentally with the anxiety it creates. As life goes on its usual course; the shutdown schools and factories, quarantined cities, cancelled sports activities, effective drug development news given one after another are enough to give anxiety to people. Anxieties that are not properly managed can lead to stress disorder that persists even after the epidemic is under control. And in patients who are currently on mental health follow-up, the related symptoms may appear.
It is quite normal for people to feel upset, anxious, feel a sense of helplessness and insecurity in the face of a sudden turn of events, and anger at the people or institutions they think are responsible for these events. Uncontrolled events such as natural disasters or deterioration in health can trigger anxiety. The anxiety level may be higher in individuals if their relatives are far away or if they are in quarantine.
RISK GROUPS CHANGE ACCORDING TO AGE
In epidemics; adults are physically, teens and children are mentally at greater risk. As the young people and children have difficulty in grasping the situation and they have not yet reached sufficient maturity in stress management, it is necessary to approach them more sensitively. It is necessary to ensure that young people remain calm. All their questions must be answered with patience and communication mediums must be open. They should be informed about the places where they can get help if they feel any trouble. They must be encouraged to share their emotions with their parents, teachers and mental health professionals. Instead of information without a source that triggers anxiety, they must be encouraged to get reliable information from institutional resources such as T.R. Ministry of Health and universities. They should stay away from social media networks if necessary and only use them to get information.
PHYSICAL HEALTH AND MENTAL HEALTH ARE INTERTWINED
People can be hopeless, experience insomnia, muscle fatigue, attention de cit, nervousness, muscle pain, hyperactivity and uncontrolled sadness during an epidemic. In such a case, they should be relieved to reduce their anxiety and perform calming activities like exercises and meditation. People should call crisis call centres and get right information to prevent anxiety resulting from the lack of information.
To sum up, epidemics are likely to occur throughout the history of humankind. Acquiring the right information, taking enough precautions, trying to continue the daily life routine and supporting the sensitive young people will help us get over this process with minimum damage on the society.
Academician Prof. Dr. Sefa Bulut