The novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) epidemic has brought serious social psychological impact to the world population, especially those quarantined and thus with limited access to face-to-face communication and traditional social psychological interventions.
Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.
- Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
- Changes in sleep or eating patterns
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
In the coming days and weeks, fear and anxiety will likely increase as our lives continue to be disrupted and social distancing becomes necessary. As a society, we must work together with a sense of empathy. As individuals, we must inform ourselves of the facts, stay connected to the people we love and be kind to each other. People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms.
If quarantining is necessary, there are steps that can mitigate the effects of being isolated, including:
- Staying connected with your social and family networks via technology
- Keeping your daily routines as much as possible
- Exercising regularly and practicing habits that you enjoy and find relaxing
- Seeking practical, credible information at specific times of the day
A sense of hope instead of fear could allow leaders and everyday citizens to better cooperate with one another – a vital element in defeating this outbreak.
How you respond to the outbreak can depend on your background, the things that make you different from other people, and the community you live in.
- Older people and people with chronic diseases who are at higher risk for COVID-19
- Children and teens
- People who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors and other health care providers, or first responders
- People who have mental health conditions including problems with substance use
Parents can be more reassuring to others around them, especially children, if they are better prepared.Some common changes are
- Excessive crying or irritation in younger children
- Returning to behaviors they have outgrown (for example, toileting accidents or bedwetting)
- Excessive worry or sadness
- Unhealthy eating or sleeping habits
- Irritability and “acting out” behaviors in teens
- Poor school performance or avoiding school
- Difficulty with attention and concentration
- Avoidance of activities enjoyed in the past
- Unexplained headaches or body pain
- Use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs