The outbreak of COVID-19 upended world practices and compelled people to rethink their priorities. Mental health issues were already rising at an alarming rate, and the spread of airborne disease, for which there is no cure, surged it further. Many governments announced lockdowns and forced people to stay homebound. Staying indoors for an extended period harmed many people’s psychological wellbeing. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in fear, stress, and economic recession, contributing to mental health issues.
The airborne disease that rapidly morphed into the pandemic disrupted all industries and affected the healthcare sector. The pandemic is not over yet and is constantly changing situations. Healthcare practitioners strive to perform with proficiency and provide care to the patients while taking care of themselves. Medical professionals have an in-depth insight into the healthcare field and understand the negative implications of mental health problems. Regardless of what healthcare field they serve, they are aware of the harms of increased levels of distress and anxiety. Although medical professionals are the most vulnerable to psychological problems, they actively address mental health issues during health crises.
The following are some points that will give you an idea of the role of healthcare practitioners in addressing mental health issues during the pandemic:
Educate about the Warning Signs
Most health practitioners serve in the industry after going through training and earning a degree. They possess the necessary skills and have an in-depth insight into the medical field. Moreover, the public take their pieces of advice and recommendations regarding health seriously. Health practitioners can educate people that mental health issues are real and nothing is embarrassing about them. At the same time, talking about such topics and discussing them with others help in relieving the burden. Many people do not recognize the warning sign and do not know that they need professional help. Health practitioners can help them identify the symptoms and educate them about coping strategies for mental health issues. Today, many people opt for e-education as it offers many benefits. Online education is comparatively reasonable and allows people to fulfill their other duties. Individuals who have obtained a bachelor’s or masters in public health online can recognize the mental health signs. They can enlighten the public on a larger scale and motivate them to seek professional help if the need arises.
Motivate People to Exercise
Health experts emphasize being psychically active. Not only does it help in losing extra weight, but it also helps in building better mental health. Unfortunately, several people are under the impression that acquiring membership in a gym or walking or jogging in a park are only ways of keeping active. Health practitioners must motivate the community to indulge in exercise at home. Exercise alleviates mood, reduces depression, and raises people’s self-esteem. Health practitioners can raise awareness of how physical activities can positively impact mental health and encourage them to keep fit. Despite scientists discovering vaccines and people following SOPs, some people do not feel comfortable stepping out for a walk or gym; they can easily do workouts at home.
Encourage Open Communication
People dealing with psychological problems often think that their feelings are inadequate, and others will judge them. Many a time, they prefer suppressing their feelings and let them bottle up inside. Crushing their emotions harms their health and often leads to multiple physical health issues. The pandemic led people to stay indoors. Many people had to self-isolate themselves, which negatively impacted their mental health. Medical professionals must break the stigma of mental health and persuade the public to open up about their feelings. Health practitioners can suggest different ways to use technology and encourage them to practice open communication.
Incorporate Guidance about Mental Health Issues in Regular Practices
The epidemic has sparked mental health problems, and depression and anxiety have become common issues now. Health professionals can incorporate guidance about psychological issues in their general practice. They can encourage people to take care of themselves, spend some time in nature, and address issues instead of keeping them to themselves. Unfortunately, discussing mental health problems is still considered taboo, and people prefer brushing them under the carpet. Health professionals need to normalize them by not making people feel different than others.
Organize Webinars/ Podcasts
Health professionals understand that people listen to them and take their warnings seriously. They can use technology and raise awareness on a larger scale about signs of distress and coping strategies. Many people discovered webinars and podcasts during the lockdowns and benefitted from them. Health practitioners can organize webinars, talk to people using facts and figures and help them deal with their issues. Webinars are seminars that people conduct online, and they do not require organizers to invest a large sum of money. People can listen to podcasts or attend webinars on the go. Additionally, webinars have a vast reach. Health practitioners can use them to convey messages regarding psychological wellbeing to a more significant number of people.
Persuade to Take Regular Breaks
Modern life is hectic and keeps people on their toes throughout the day. Health practitioners must raise awareness of taking rest and going on breaks regularly. Staying busy all the time takes a toll on psychological well being and fills people with anxiety. Taking frequent breaks improves productivity and helps in building psychological health. Moreover, people get bored with routine, and change helps them in keeping mental health intact. Since the public holds health practitioners in high regard, medical professionals can influence them to take some time off and spend doing their favorite activity.
Promote Healthy Diet
People often do not realize that their diet has a direct impact on their psychological health. Consuming junk and processed food harms people’s psychological health and can increase distress and violent behaviors. In contrast, healthy food helps in keeping fit physically and mentally. Health practitioners must promote a healthy diet and inform people about the negative impact of consuming unhealthy food. The COVID-19 epidemic has limited people’s activities and confined them. Many people seek solace in eating fried and processed food, which may become a cause of increased levels of depression. Health practitioners can be role models and inspire people to follow a healthy diet and witness the positive impact on their psychological health.
The coronavirus still looms in the air and is constantly evolving the situation. Scientists have discovered the vaccine, and governments ensure that people take care of social distancing, sanitation, and wear masks, but the pandemic is far from over. The sudden spread of the disease triggered mental health issues and impacted people’s wellbeing on a massive scale. Economic loss, staying indoors, and losing people to the deadly virus continually raise mental health problems and affect the general public. Healthcare professionals have been striving hard since the disease emerged and are educating people about tackling psychological issues. They encourage them to be open about their feelings and seek professional support if the condition persists. Thus, healthcare practitioners are actively participating in addressing mental health issues during the pandemic.