We need to take care of the vulnerable as #Covid19 becomes more embedded in our daily lives

Finola Colgan, Development Officer Mental Health Ireland

Reporter:

Finola Colgan, Development Officer Mental Health Ireland

Email:

newsroom@longfordleader.ie

We need to take care of the vulnerable as #Covid19 becomes more embedded in our daily lives

We need to take care of the vulnerable as #Covid19 becomes more embedded in our daily lives

We need to be honest and mindful that it is quite normal that anyone of us feels particularly vulnerable and overawed as the news of the Covid 19 becomes more embedded in our daily lives. 

It is a very unsettling and serious health concern that has displaced so many events and activities that were on the horizon over the next number of weeks. 

Also read: Appeal to help elderly people as the coronavirus pandemic escalates

Mental Health Ireland’s CEO Martin Rogan said, “For most of us, this is our first experience of a situation of this kind, and it is a real concern. The best way to match this concern is to stay informed using legitimate public health messages. MHI  encourages members of the public to use the www2.hse.ie website which provides evidence-based advice on the practical and necessary steps. This information is up-to-date, timely and proportionate.”

In the interim it can impact on our physical and mental health. It can be helpful to acknowledge these feelings and explore how best we can manage its unpredictability and its impact on daily living. 

Also read: LCRL urges Longford people feeling isolated to call their Friendly Phone Call Service for a chat

Understandable it is causing a significant amount of worry, concern and anxiety because of the disruption to ordinary daily living and the lack of certainty of what the immediate future holds. The predictability of how we go about our daily living from going to work, to maintaining home life, dealing with the children and young adults home from school and third level institutions, engaging in community life is compromised in the very interest of personal health and wellbeing. 

Five Ways to Wellbeing

The following suggestions may help you, your friends and your family to look after your mental health and wellbeing and support resilience at this time when we are dealing with such an unprecedented threat to our physical health. However, there is much we can do for personal, family and community resiliencies through the application of the Five Ways to Wellbeing promoted by Mental Health Ireland. These include 

1) Connect, it is important to stay connected and share concerns with family members and neighbours and friends. At times of stress we will always thrive and feel better when talking and chatting and keeping in touch. Also be aware there are a number of  free national helplines that can be contacted that provide emotional support including the HSE 1800 341 900. Although there is a strict health warning and guidance about “social distance” adherence to which is essential, we can still be in touch with others through social media, texting, direct phone calls, what apps groups, indeed emailing. You're not alone; talk to someone you trust. Sharing a problem is often the first step to recovery.

2) Be Active, like never it is important to keep our minds and body active and distract ourselves from the constant news reporting on Covid 19. This can be achieved by going for walks, consider some gardening, planting flower pots, and taking out a board game. When out and about be mindful of social distance. Fresh air and green exercise are well known to provide physical and psychological health benefits.

3)Take Notice, very important to be aware and know what is happening around us and to keep in contact with best advice being issued by the HSE.  It can also be helpful for peace of mind to limit our engagement with the constant media flow switch off, tune into favourite music, tv programmes, local radio station. Unfortunately, crises like this trigger scaremongering and conspiracy theories, that help none of us and serve only to contribute uncertainty and anxiety. By informing yourself through trustworthy sources on the current outbreak, you can support you and your family to feel more in control and accepting of the situation on hand. Rumour and speculation are a very poor combination for wellbeing.

4) Keep Learning, keep yourself and your family informed about good hygiene practice as recommended which include, washing your hands more often than usual, for twenty seconds with soap and hot water when you return from work, or have been away from your home, ensure all family members get into such a routine. Many places and businesses are supplying hand sanitiser. Also use tissues if you sneeze and immediately dispose of them. It goes without saying, stay at home if you do not feel well. This is also a timely opportunity to explore online free learning opportunities of which there are. Google free online learning opportunities. Of course do not forget your free library “borrow box “ app.

5) Give – give yourself the space and time to look after yourself, this is not a selfish sentiment. This includes ensuring you maintain a healthy diet, build in exercise. As best you can stick to your daily routine.  We can also watch out and try to reassure others that we know that maybe worried and look in on people where possible that are living alone. It is also important to have open and helpful conversation with younger family members who may through their own social media platforms be worried and concerned. 

Finally remember and let it be your mantra TEAM- Together Everyone Achieves More and the recent supportive words of our President Michael D Higgin “Take care and watch out for each other.” 

We all must adjust for the short term and be optimistic for the immediate future.