COVID-19 has spread around the globe and triggered global action after the first case in late 2019 was reported.
This has contributed to increasing attempts in countries all over the world to enforce the practice of physical distancing, contributing to shifts in national psychological norms and shutdowns in normal day-to-day functioning.
The outbreak has continued to profoundly affect the mental health of people as many are struggling to cope with the uncertainty of the whole situation and the possibility of losing loved ones to this disease. Taking into consideration the mental health implications of the pandemic, RTT conducted a study to investigate how residents in the United States were coping and dealing with the pandemic.
Millions of people have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus and therefore suffering from financial stress. This financial stress is leading to many mental health problems. On top of that, social isolation has made the situation even worse.
With a surge of mental health cases on the rise, more people are trying to reach out and find out more information about not only how they can help themselves but also help other people. This can explain how there has been an increase in people searching for online therapy terms such as ‘how to become a therapist’ because people are trying to support each other during these troubling times.
During this pandemic, many people search for online help regarding mental health. The most searched queries were regarding apps or online help. The RTT study found that the search interest for leading mental health apps such as Headspace, Calm and Better Help have increased. Their searches have almost increased one hundred percent over the last year in the US and have reached peak interest rates in-line with major COVID related incidents.
Among all these, Headspace occupies the top position when it comes to the highest number of Google searches. It is also the most popular meditation app. Calm occupies the second place it was also endorsed by many celebrities, such as LeBron James.
Headspace has over 6000 reviews currently for the months of the pandemic and the app reviews has increased 101% since March to July 2020.
People also intend to search online for online therapies and the search against this query has increased by 96% since March 2020.
Here are a few steps that can be taken to cope with the mental health illness during this epidemic:
Your mental health needs to establish a regular schedule. establish appropriate times for eating, washing and getting dressed, study or work hours, and workout in addition to committing to a daily sleep schedule.
Reserve time for things that you like as well, such as your hobbies like gardening or DIY tasks as that way you can feel more powerful in your life and you are taking control in being proactive and taking charge of doing the things that you like doing.
Eat healthily and avoid eating junk food; it would be okay to eat junk occasionally but not frequently because it would contribute towards an increase in obesity.
It's important to have a daily intake of your 'five a day' of fruits and vegetables to obtain a rich source of vitamin C and other essential nutrients.
Also, don't forget to take exercise daily. Simple yoga exercises or even walking or jogging can help you clear your mind and help you relax, while also enabling you to reap the benefits of cardiovascular exercise.
Constant reports from all forms of media about COVID-19 will raise concerns about the disease. Remember that through social media, gossip and false data can be sent to you. Excessive use of social media also prohibits reading, listening or viewing reputable news.
But always keep national and local recommendations up-to-date. Check for accurate sources, for instance, The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC).
Instead of focusing on how terrible you feel, start reflecting on the good stuff in your life. Consider beginning each day by mentioning things for which you are grateful. Retain a level of optimism, work to embrace modifications as they happen and try to keep issues in context.
As we read news about the outbreak, it is OK to feel anxious and overwhelmed, particularly if you have encountered trauma or a mental health issue in the past, or if you are shielding, have a long-term physical health condition, or fall into one of the other categories that make you more insecure to the coronavirus effects.
Recognising these feelings and encouraging each other to look after our overall health is crucial. Try to console individuals you encounter who might be concerned about and keep in touch with individuals you know who live alone.
Mental health apps offer a variety of services which includes meditation guidance, online therapy and system tracking and management. However, health experts suggest that these apps are not as effective to replace mental health professionals.
Despite some of these apps being good and effective with the services they provide, it can be an issue if people start to solely rely on them to help them get through their mental health issues. While it might help people cope in the short-term, there could potentially be devastating consequences in the future.
It is great to have online help at our disposal, but there can be no replacement for the effect that face-to-face communication can have when speaking to a professionally trained therapist directly.
Due to the widespread of COVID19, there has been a surge in mental health problems mainly due to the financial implications that this crisis is imposing on people and businesses.
To cope with mental health problems, people are tending to use online mental health applications to seek help or opting for online therapies to deal with stress.
It is better to consult with a mental health professional as soon as possible to seek out professional help and control the symptoms and provide a more effective road to recovery.