Wed | Dec 1, 2021

Letter of the Day | Take care of mental health during COVID-19

Published:Monday | March 15, 2021 | 12:10 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

The first anniversary of COVID-19 has come and gone. Not sure if we’re anywhere near a better place, but the vaccine has brought a glimmer of hope to the medical fraternity. We’ve focused mainly on the physical health of our nation and following COVID-19 protocols, but what about the mental health of our people?

I know some people were excited when they first learnt that they’d be working from home, but the newness and excitement has worn off and now we are here. Many people feel trapped in the four walls of their homes and while the COVID-19 numbers are rising, mental health is on the decline. Depression and suicidal ideation rates across the world have skyrocketed, and there’s been little to no movement to help those suffering secretly or openly. It doesn’t help that our lives are centred around screens, the phone, the laptop or the tablet. The stress on the children was way more than what could be imagined. The workload has tripled, at least for university students whose lives were already chaotic and most outlets for relaxation are closed. Gone are the days of Friday or Saturday night link ups to hangout with friends and de-stress.

The lack of a routine, the lack of human interaction and even the lack of motivation, with no end to COVID-19 in sight, has led some people to a dark place. I know that stopping the spread of COVID-19 is of utmost importance, but if we aren’t careful, we’ll see more broken and depressed people emerging at the end of COVID-19 than ever before. The attention that is given to COVID-19 safety guidelines should be given to our mental health.

TAKE A BREAK

How can we help ourselves? We can take a break from our screens, go outside and take a walk. Low levels of vitamin D contribute greatly to depression. So take a morning or an evening walk, do a bit of exercise, nothing strenuous, just a quick 30-minute workout three times a week, and eat better.

The junk food calls to you in your sad state, but try your best to avoid them; get some more fruits and vegetables into your system. Finally, talk or write about your feelings. Don’t bottle it all in because at some point, you’ll burst. I am by no means a mental health professional, but this has worked for me. Prioritise your mental health, nobody will care about it as much as you.

SHANTOY MARTIN

martinshantoy@gmail.com