WHEN it infects an individual, SARS-CoV-2 can overwhelm the respiratory system.
When it infects an entire society — or in the case of the current pandemic, the entire world — it can overwhelm your mental health as well.
The uncertainty of the current situation can be scary, stressful, and just too much. For many now quarantined at home with fewer things to distract them, the near-constant stream of bad news coming in on social media probably doesn’t help.
Personnel in the health care frontline may have it even worse. “For health workers, feeling under pressure is a likely experience for you and many of your health worker colleagues,” wrote the World Health Organization in a document released last March 12.
But, it continued, “[s]tress and the feelings associated with it are by no means a reflection that you cannot do your job or that you are weak. Managing your mental health and psychosocial wellbeing during this time is as important as managing your physical health.”
Now that’s good advice for everyone.
The Philippine Mental Health Association released the following guidelines on how to safeguard your mind, and not just your body, in the time of COVID-19.
This includes practices like remaining calm, focusing on things that are within our control, keeping in contact with friends and loved ones, and yes, staying away from social media.
And when things become overwhelming, here are some hotlines you can contact.
Philippine Mental Health Association
Message the PMHA on their Facebook page to talk to an online health professional. It is free and strictly confidential. The professionals are available from Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Outside of those hours, you can email email@example.com or send a message to 0917-565-2036.
National Center for Mental Health
Professionals are on call at the National Center for Mental Health in the easy-to-memorize numbers 0917-899-8727 or (02)8989-8727.
The foundation is offering round-the-clock psychosocial support. You can call 0918-873-4673 or 0917-558-4673 on mobile, or (02)8804-4673. Globe and TM subscribers can also dial 2919.
Youth for Mental Health Coalition, Inc.
If you don’t feel up to a one-on-one conversation, the Youth for Mental Health Coalition has set up a Facebook group called Beyond COVID-19 so you can check on best practices, coping strategies, and more. Check out the group here.
Muntinlupa Health and Psychosocial Support
“Kapatid, kamusta ka?” asks Muntinlupa Health and Psychosocial Support. “May bumabagabag ba sa iyo? Stressed? Pagod? Hindi mo masabi sa iba? Halika, usap tayo.” The Muntinlupa City is offering psychosocial support to city residents via their Facebook page.
The Verge's Erin Taylor has nothing but good things to say about the very empowering, consoling, and oftentimes moving COVID-19 support subreddit. "r/Covid19_support also offers a space for those who have been let down the most by our systems — those who may not be guaranteed sick leave and can’t work from home — to seek some sort of advice on how to handle the realities they face," she wrote. You can check out the subreddit by tapping here.