On Wednesday 25th March 2020 on our MentalHealthTalk, our quest Mr Ifeanyichukwu Anthony Ogueji, a Clinical Health Psychologist with International experiences in the integration of research-based practice with therapeutic-based practice to manage persons living with life threatening events, discussed on Mental Health in a time of #Pandemic” Focus was onpsychological effects of #covid19 on Nigerians
When we say psychological effects of a #pandemic, what does mean
Psychological effects of the pandemic describe any triggered response by the pandemic that is cognitive, behavioral or emotional in characteristic. Cognitive responses triggered by the pandemic may include false thoughts that one has contracted covid-19. Such false thought could be triggered by imaginary symptoms of the pandemic.
Behavioral response which is a second psychological effect of the pandemic are reflected in our behaviors during this time. For instance, more persons tend to engage in behaviors of discrimination of persons that just returned from high-risk countries at this critical time.
The third factor which describes the psychological effect of the pandemic is emotional response. This kind of response could occur as anxieties such as panic attacks. It could as well occur as depression (Excessive sadness that interferes with our normal functioning).
Do you think increasing number of #covid19 confirmed cases can have a significant #psychological effect on people in #Nigeria?
Yes! The number of increasing cases have psychological effects on everyone. Research suggests that during pandemic outbreaks fear of contracting the disease, fear of spreading the disease, depression and acute stress disorders are very common when cases are increasing in number.
Considering the adverse psychological impacts of the increasing number of confirmed cases, there is the need of holistic interventions for the general population.
Research also suggests that when cases are increasing in number during a pandemic time like this, the likelihood of substance abuse is doubled among vulnerable populations.
What are the common psychology effects that can be experienced by people during this period
Common psychological effects include but not limited to: anxiety disorders, depression, stigmatization of vulnerable persons, psychotic symptoms and in some cases suicidal behaviors. More psychological effects include: abuse or misuse of substances, acute stress disorders which could breed post-traumatic stress disorder if it worsens, and personality disturbances.
How do you know if the pandemic is having any of these psychological effects on you?:
- You tend to lose interests in the activities you normally find interesting.
- You think suicide is better than being affected by the pandemic.
- You create imaginary symptoms of the disease in you and you may think that you are now positive to the disease.
- You are having fear that is beyond normal or you find yourself getting fearful for no reason.
- You tend to discriminate against persons that just arrived from high-risk countries.
What are the best ways people can care for their mental health during this period of #covid19 #Pandemic
During this period, you can care for your mental health in the following ways: Practice of the preventive measures recommended by @WHO Research suggests that during a pandemic, negative psychological effects could be controlled by practicing healthy behaviors.
Second, we could care for our mental health at this time by seeking professional help. In this regard, I would recommend that a registry of mental health practitioners is released to the general public, for them to contact mental health practitioners that are close to them.
Third, we can care for our mental health at this period by promoting accurate information sharing about the pandemic. This is imperative because research suggests that knowledge of illness is a significant predictor of mental healthcare during time of a pandemic.
What is your advice for people during this #COVID19 #Pandemic
We are all advised to:
- Practice healthy behaviors recommended by @WHO
- Promote information sharing of the pandemic.
- Seek psychosocial supports.
- Keep calm, and remain positive that the whole world will smile again after now.
Thank you for having me!