COVID-19: Muntinlupa offers virtual psychosocial chat for distressed citizens
MANILA, Philippines — Being at home isn’t exactly stress-free especially when the reason for staying indoors means you’re being under quarantine to avoid contracting a virus.
But residents of Muntinlupa City do not have to be upset about this as their local government’s mental health services launched a virtual chat for citizens who might be feeling distressed and anxious about COVID-19.
Muntinlupa residents who are experiencing distress and anxiety due to the novel coronavirus disease outbreak may chat with mental health professionals at the Muntinlupa Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Facebook page.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Muntinlupa government’s mental health services opened its virtual chat for citizens who are feeling stressed and worried about the coronavirus disease pandemic.
“Stressed? Nagwoworry? Wala ka masabihan? Chat mo kami! Nandito kami para makinig sa iyo!” wrote the Muntinlupa Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in its Facebook page on Thursday.
(Stressed? Worried? Nobody to talk to? Chat us! We are here to help you.)
The United States’ Center for Disease and Prevention Control (CDC) said the COVID-19 outbreak will spark fear and anxiety in adults and children.
Specifically, it said, older people and those with underlying health conditions who are high risk for COVID-19; children and teens; health workers and other frontliners; and people with mental health including with substance abuse.
Stress during the outbreak include “fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones; changes in sleep or eating patterns; difficulty sleeping or concentrating; worsening of chronic health problems; and increased use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs,” CDC noted in its website.
CDC advised that people with mental health conditions must continue their medication and be aware of new or worsening symptoms.
It further offered tips to help individuals cope with stress:
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
- Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
- Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
- Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
- Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row.
CDC also encouraged sharing facts about the infectious disease to make the outbreak less stressful.
“When you share accurate information about COVID-19 you can help make people feel less stressed and allow you to connect with them,” it said.
To lessen stress of frontliners, CDC advised them to follow these tips:
- Acknowledge that secondary traumatic stress can impact anyone helping families after a traumatic event.
- Learn the symptoms including physical (fatigue, illness) and mental (fear, withdrawal, guilt).
- Allow time for you and your family to recover from responding to the pandemic.
- Create a menu of personal self-care activities that you enjoy, such as spending time with friends and family, exercising, or reading a book.
- Take a break from media coverage of COVID-19.
- Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed or concerned that COVID-19 is affecting your ability to care for your family and patients as you did before the outbreak.
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