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Keep calm and dress up a cat in a goose costume: how coronavirus affects the psyche and how to protect it


How to stay mentally healthy during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Pixabay

How to stay mentally healthy during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: Pixabay

The dreamers hoped that after the New Year the world would immediately become the same as before. But the new year has already come, but the coronavirus continues to infect people and transform an already changed life.

The coronavirus affects not only physical health and the global economy. COVID-19 is also a blow to the psyche. The Page has been figuring out what the psychological consequences of the coronavirus for humans and the world would be and how to keep ourselves healthy.

A massive threat to humanity’s mental health

In addition to the fear of contracting or getting sick, the coronavirus affects mental health. The coronavirus pandemic and the crisis it has caused pose a huge problem for health. The scale is almost comparable to the World War II aftermath, British psychiatrist, president of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Adrian James, told The Guardian.

About a fifth of people who underwent mechanical ventilation in the spring now have post-traumatic stress disorder. The psyche of people who have lost loved ones because of coronavirus and have not been able to say goodbye to them in person is also suffering very much.

The likelihood of mental health problems that people with "lingering coronavirus" experience is a cause for concern, James said. The lingering uncertainty surrounding jobs, housing, and economic recovery is a worrying fact.

The coronavirus impact on health and economy will be felt for many years after humanity is able to take control of COVID-19. People will need help to get back to normal. Older people will be most affected.

"I would like to think that life will get to normal, we will all work again at once, but I think it will take time for people to get used to it. Most likely, elderly people who are accustomed to self-isolation will suffer," said the British psychiatrist.

Mental Health Center experts estimate that about 10 million Britons will need additional mental health support. Of these, 1.3 million are those who have not previously had mental problems. About 1.8 million people will require help because of moderate or severe depression. Among these 10 million there will be about 1.5 million children.

At the start of the pandemic, the demand for mental health services dropped as people thought such treatment was not available. But after the recession, the number of patients who seek help began to increase.

NHS Digital data shows that the number of people seeking mental health care has never been greater, and some hospital funds report that their mental health units are operating at full capacity.

Keep calm and wash your hands: how to stay mentally healthy

According to James, to cope with the looming wave of demand for psychological care, mental health services need to be enhanced and made more available.

Stress in a pandemic situation is normal because COVID-19 is a huge stress, and even if a person does not seem to feel it, still there is stress.

Stress is too high a level of the cortisol hormone. When the cortisol is too high, you can physically jump over your head, survive under fire, and not break anything by falling from the 5th floor. When cortisol is too high, you can't dream, make long-term plans, moderately study or work. Cortisol does not contribute to this "ordered process", it mobilizes internal forces to fight in a critical situation here and now.

When the "here and now" is stretched in time, our psyche and hormones do not understand what is happening: there is no need to jump from the 5th floor, but life cannot be planned, the world is not saved, the person lies on the sofa and is anxious.

Now all people are very vulnerable, and if you just want to lie and eat, you can just lie and eat. If you want to dress up a cat in a goose costume—that is a great idea. If a person, on the contrary, is very productive—that is great. The main thing in this lingering instability is not to force yourself to do something, but first of all to do something that will definitely help to relax.

"When I need to calm down, I resort to proven techniques that have always worked for me. For example, you can learn simple relaxing exercises: breathing exercises, muscle relaxation, meditation—they are very useful for both the body and consciousness in stressful conditions. When I have anxious thoughts, I try to discuss them with people who are dear to me because they can also think about something similar, and it is easier to find solutions to problems together. Try to stay optimistic," said Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe.


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