The global COVID-19 epidemic continues to threaten mental health as well as all areas of life. Social distance rules and quarantine practices taken in order to prevent the spread of the epidemic significantly increase the feeling of loneliness and the anxiety caused by this feeling. Mental disorders are observed in many of the people who experience the epidemic period without support. While feelings of anxiety, fear, sleep problems, irritability and hopelessness are common due to COVID-19, these feelings are interpreted as a rational reaction of the human mind to this extraordinary situation.
What does the data say?
With COVID-19, life’s coming to a standstill reveals that studies on mental health have also been disrupted. While studies have detected mental or behavioral health problems associated with the pandemic in 2 out of every 5 people living in the USA, since March 2020, the National Mental Health Agency (NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness) has been in the United States. It is stated that the number of calls and e-mails sent has increased by 65 percent.
The number of children between the ages of 12 and 17 who applied to the hospital for mental health in 2019-2020 was 31 percent; It is also recorded that children aged 5-11 have increased by 24 percent. The Americans just stated that good mental health of 34 percent of Turkey the situation is similar. Turkey according to the Covidien-19 Mental Health Barometer survey results; While there is an 86 percent increase in the level of general anxiety, it is stated that there is a 50 percent increase in people who are concerned that their health is at risk compared to other people.
Measures should be taken for the mental health of the society
Research points out that during the epidemic period, people who are clinically diagnosed with mental illness may experience an increase in suicide rates. For this reason, it is necessary to provide solutions for the protection of social mental health by taking action. One of these solutions is to foresee the possible threat of the epidemic to mental health and to bring mental health from a global dimension to the social dimension. Investing in mental health, enabling each individual to regain hope for the future and making societies healthier, economically productive and socially compatible are among the solutions to be implemented by the governments of the country.
Stress management is of great importance during the epidemic period
Stress management, which is also important in everyday life, is seen as a more critical problem during the epidemic period. Emotional effects caused by stress can have negative effects on health over time. Stress can cause serious damage to metabolism by increasing the level of the hormone called cortisol in the blood, becoming chronic over time. Stress can also cause serious distress by accelerating the increase in body weight (especially around the abdomen), causing inflammation. In particular, it can have negative effects on blood sugar levels, blood pressure, heart health and even memory.
Recommendations for stress management during the epidemic period;
• Stop watching, reading or listening to news, including those on social media. It is good to have information, but it can be upsetting to constantly hear negative news about the epidemic. Try to limit the news to only a few times a day.
• Pay attention to a healthy and balanced diet.
• Do regular physical activity. Physical activity can aid stress management by lowering cortisol levels.
• Take care of quality and adequate sleep.
• Continue with routine preventive measures (vaccines, cancer screenings, etc.) as recommended by your healthcare professional.
• Make time for yourself and try to do the activities you like.
• Stay in touch with others. Talk to people you trust about your concerns and how you feel. When implementing social distancing measures, try using online communication channels through social media or by phone or mail.