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Mental health concerns amid novel Covid 19: Depression


In the past few months, the world has experienced numerous public health crisis caused by the outbreak of the Covid-19. The emergence of this new infection has exerted significant mental health concerns amid novel covid 19. It is therefore vital to emphasize the mental health wellbeing of the population and take proactive steps to minimize the detrimental effects during this trying period of Covid-19 pandemic.There shall be immense need for psychological first Aid as a crucial early intervention with its main focus on Mental health concerns amid novel covid 19 by providing psychosocial support. For instance, an IPSOS – MORI poll found out that 62 percent of the Britons surveyed said that they found it hard to stay positive about the future, since the outbreak while 55 percent found it harder to stay positive.In the last few months, we have been thrown into an unfamiliar and daunting world. The world of social distancing, “quarantining” – as millennials put it and curfews contributing to mental health concerns amid novel Covid 19. A strict quarantine for some and the current wave of social media misinformation all have taken a toll on our mental wellbeing. Among the mental health issues that we are witnessing is stress induced depression. In this case, it is important to note that we all react differently to stressful situations, this largely depends on an individuals’ background, these are things that make us different from other people and the community we live in.Generally, depression is common and has the potential to be quite severe especially when people are going through intense stress. Those that experience this condition of persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness and loss of interest in activities that they once enjoyed. Apart from the emotional distress we go through, some people can also develop physical symptoms such as chronic pain and digestive issues in line with mental health concerns amid novel covid 19. It is important to note that for one to be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must be present for at least two consecutive weeks. The first and most important step is understanding this disorder in terms of its diagnosis, the difference with depression and sadness as well as how to mitigate the risks.When can an individual be diagnosed with depression? (DSM-5 diagnostic criteria)

  • Diminished interest or pleasure in all activities most of the day , nearly every day.
  • Decreased or increased appetite nearly everyday
  • A slowed down in thought and reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down)
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
  • Diminished ability to think, concentrate or acute indecisiveness nearly every day.
  • Depressed mood most of the day nearly everyday

NB: One must be experiencing five or more of the above symptoms should be either depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure.Depression Vs SadnessGiven that the primary symptoms associated with depression is sadness. Let us distinguish between the two psychological states. Depression is more than just sadness and not simply by measure of degree. The difference lies in a combination of factors relating to the duration of these negative emotions in terms of physical impact caused by the symptoms and the effects on an individual’s ability to function in daily life . In this context, sadness is caused by a specific situation a person went through such as the death of a loved one. On the contrary, depression occurs without such a emotional trigger for a person to begin feeling excessively sad or hopeless about everything.


How Can We Mitigate Depression During Covid 19 Pandemic?

  • Staying positive: This may sound impractical during this difficult time but lather than think, take a day at a time week by week. A silver lining may be hard to find especially with the financial impact of Covid 19. Let’s not look at the situation as a permanent situation. Manage free time well. Find moment of happiness in this freedom
  • Outline the activities you can engage in: Exercise, read books, watch movies, get creative with cooking “With isolation and passivity, we risk tendency to ruminate and have negative thought just because we are self-isolating doesn’t mean we need to truly isolate ourselves “ Dr Robert leahy
  • Connect with others (online). Play games
  • Self-reflection: Its ok to feel sad and acknowledge to yourself and to others in these difficult times the mental health concerns amid novel covid 19. When the pandemic recedes and the curfews, lockdowns are gone you may find you appreciate the freedom to go to the gym, or spend time with friends and family even more.Let’s engage in activities that give us pleasure and sense of meaning and do what you can help others which is a remarkable antidote to depression.
  • Seek professional help from a therapist: For those experiencing significant symptoms of depression seek professional help from a mental health professional around your area. Early interventions are recommendable

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Josephine Kinya (Counselling Psychologist/Mediator/HR)

Contact: 0728248786/

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