Mental Health The COVID-19 Pandemic

Messages for people with mental health problems 1, 2

Mental health problems often result in feelings of isolation and loneliness, which may be reinforce by the quarantine measures imposed during the COVID 19 pandemic. As it complicates emotional regulation and reduces access to care , the current situation can cause risky behavior. It is more difficult for people with mental health problems to get the care they need. Indeed, many health establishments have limited their services to urgent consultations and the treatment of cases requiring hospitalization. It has been recommended to give priority as much as possible to remote care. 3 In the unprecedented situation we are experiencing, the United Nations continues to take your mental health and well-being to heart and remains committed to helping you meet your mental health needs.

  •  Try to stay in touch with friends. Relatives you can turn to for help if your mental health should deteriorate.
  • If you are undergoing treatment for a mental health problem Continue to take your prescribed medications and make sure you are able to restock. You may be able to get a refillable prescription over the phone or online from a licensed pharmacy’s website.
  • If you are under the care of a mental health specialist, find out how to continue consultations during the pandemic. Find out about the possibilities of consultation by phone, SMS or online, which may be offer, for example, by your psychologist or psychotherapist, or by auxiliaries, nurses, social workers or volunteers.
  • In the event of a mental health crisis or emergency, such as planning to injure yourself or kill yourself, immediate professional advice and guidance should be obtained to determine what to do next. . If a healthcare professional has already given you an emergency number, use it. If you are in the care of a mental health team. Have a special care plan, follow the directions on who to contact in an emergency.
  • If you happen to have panic and anxiety attacks, it may help to make a place in your home where you feel safe or do breathing exercises to soothe yourself.
  • If you are feeling locked in or claustrophobic, it will be useful to take advantage of the times when you can leave your home, but also consider opening the windows to ventilate, taking a break somewhere where you can look outside, or even taking a break. sit on your doorstep or in your garden, if you have one. It can also help to change rooms regularly (if possible) to feel less cramped.
  • If you are undergoing treatment for an alcohol or drug problem, be aware that the COVID-19 epidemic can exacerbate feelings of fear, anxiety and isolation and therefore put you at greater risk. risk of relapsing or consuming other substances, as well as stopping or not following your treatment. Continue to take your prescription and make sure you are able to restock your medication regularly. If you are in touch with a psychologist or support group, find out how to stay in touch.
  • If you are undergoing treatment for a problem gambling or video game addiction, do not stop it if possible. Ask your psychotherapist or healthcare provider for the best way to continue treatment while in lockdown.
  • If you have an eating disorder, try to establish a new routine to find some benchmarks in these unusual circumstances. Take care of yourself, including maintaining good sleep hygiene. If you are in treatment, try to stay in touch with the team. That helps you over the phone or over the internet. As it is important to report your situation to them. If your psychotherapist cancels appointments, you may want to keep a journal so that you can describe your condition later.
  • Remember that difficult times have a beginning and an end: be patient and avoid being too harsh on yourself. In the past, you may have developed some tools to overcome other difficult times. Consider using them.

For more information on mental health issues, you can check the WHO website or other useful sources of information like this document on coping with stressful episodes.

Visit the Healthy Workforce web page to learn more about the UN Strategy for Mental Health and Well-Being at Work.

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