It has been several months since our entire country was placed under a “State of Calamity” because of the Covid-19 virus which was declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Different places worldwide was put on a strict lockdown to protect everyone and prevent the spread of the virus outbreak. In the Philippines, all private and public schools, churches, mall, and almost all the establishments were ordered a mandatory temporary closure.
Since then, we’re locked in our houses to protect ourselves from being infected by the virus. Especially the teenagers and youth because of the policy that those who are under 21 of age are not encouraged to go out.
However, we might be safe inside our houses, there is still one thing we should protect ourselves from. Because this pandemic, with loss of employment and livelihood and all the news about increasing Covid-19 cases and deaths, has been causing distress to many Filipinos. And the fact that there are a lot of uncertainties with what we’re currently facing makes people feel worried and anxious most of the time.
Just recently, Maria Rosario Vergeire, health spokesperson from National Care for Mental Health (NCMH) reported that the center has been receiving a flood of calls related to mental health starting the lockdown. Also stating that their crisis hotline reached an average of 32-37 calls a day from 13-15 daily before the pandemic.
Inter-agency Task Force chief Carlito Galvez Jr. even asked the help of religious leaders to provide guidance for people who are struggling with their mental health and address the alarming numbers of suicide cases.
Other factors on how this pandemic is hurting the youth’s mental health:
More Screen Time
For the past six months of being limited to go out, things to do have been limited as well. So, most of the people spend longer time with their devices. From waking up to notifications to browsing on different social media platform, online selling and shopping, and watching videos or movies before going to sleep.
But too much screen time can actually affect one’s mental well-being. Several researches suggest that increased screen time might decrease sleep quality and duration. Having poor sleep habits may cause anxiety, irritability, low moods and poor cognitive function. It can also worsen one’s mental health condition
Feeling stressed out for not being productive
Maybe you’re one of many people who feels stressed out for not accomplishing something during this pandemic. I admit I was once too. The feeling of wasting too much time is bothering a lot of youth because we see others finishing many things. There’s also this feeling of being left out.
Feeling of loneliness
Being locked inside our houses for so long can definitely make someone feel lonely and hopeless. And more unmanageable with the added strict social distancing policy. Some feel lonely because of being away from home or family, partner or others from their closest friends.
No chance to go out to unwind
Youth needs a day outside to unwind when things are getting too much for them like what’s happening now. But since travel is still not possible, everyone has no choice but to stay at their place. Stay inside and endure all the stress and anxiety that’s building up within them.
We should not just protect ourselves from the virus, but let’s also mind our mental health. Aside from being hopeful and positive with the situation. Let’s not forget our routines such as exercise, relaxation and meditation, sleeping early regularly, eating healthy foods, doing creative projects or other activities for a healthier mind and body.
National Care for Mental Health (NCMH)- 0917 899 8727 (USAP)