The coronavirus pandemic has had widespread effects on the mental health of people across the globe. Stress is one of the common challenges that most people have experienced during this time.
As countries put in place measures to keep the viral infections low, these came with sudden restrictions on movement. This has seen most people working from home, home schooling, spending a lot of time with family, social isolation and facing hunger. All these have increased stress levels in many people. Stress is characterised by different symptoms such as crying, worry, inability to focus, insomnia, sadness and fatigue.
Since South Africa eased down some of the tough lockdown regulations, the country has seen a surge in the number of cases, putting it in the 20 top of countries with most cases recorded. The country is currently on level 3 lockdown restrictions, and while many of the country’s day to day activities have resumed as normal, there is still some inter-provincial movement restrictions. Many workers are under extreme pressures as companies respond to the harsh economic COVID-19 impacts by implementing policies that substantially reduce the income of their employees. Other employees have been affected by mass retrenchments as a result of the economic fallout.
During these stressful times, citizens have been encouraged to be resilient as they continue to brave the preventative restrictions. According to an article in the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide (2020), resilience can protect people from developing depression, anxiety, and unhealthy coping habits that could lead to people relying on the use of alcohol, tobacco and drug. The South African Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH) has developed an animated video, giving tips on how people can cope with stress during this time.
Whether dealing with the impacts brought about by the measures to stop the spread of the virus, or contracting the virus, stress has been a common challenge experienced by most people during this time.
This SAFMH video is aimed at assisting people who are feeling the pressures of the COVID-19 on their mental health deal. The video will also be a resource for those who know people currently experiencing stress and who are looking for practical ways to help them. It is available in five South African languages, namely English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Sotho and Tsonga.
IOL. (2020). Workers in SA are experiencing extreme hardship during Covid-19 lockdown, says Numsa. Retrieved from: https://www.iol.co.za/news/politics/workers-in-sa-are-experiencing-extreme-hardship-during-covid-19-lockdown-says-numsa-47458145
Nguyen, J., MacKrell, K., Gould, N., & Swartz, K. (2020). Managing Stress and Coping with COVID-19. In Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide Retrieved May 09, 2020, from https://www.hopkinsguides.com/hopkins/view/Johns_Hopkins_Psychiatry_Guide/787387/all/Managing_Stress_and_Coping_with_COVID_19
Psychology Today. (2020). On the Stigma of COVID-19. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/za/blog/the-stigma-effect/202004/the-stigma-covid-19
(Project Leader – Info & Awareness, SAFMH)
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