'Vaccines' for the human spirit amid the Covid-19 pandemic

Covid-19 is a serious trauma that affects the human psyche, making people susceptible to mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder, experts say.

'Vaccines' for the human spirit amid the Covid-19 pandemic

A positive emotional state is an important 'vaccine' that strengthens the body's immune system. Illustrative image: Truong Thanh Tung

On a day when HCM City was struggling with the pandemic, Ms. Tran Thi Thu Phuong received bad news: the hamlet where she went to distribute food the day before had 15 people test positive for SAR-CoV2. Panicked and worried, she hurriedly informed her relatives and friends.

On a day when HCM City was struggling with the pandemic, Ms. Tran Thi Thu Phuong received bad news: the hamlet where she went to distribute food the day before had 15 people test positive for SAR-CoV2. Panicked and worried, she hurriedly informed her relatives and friends.

Since the city was hit by the epidemic, Phuong has often gone to locked down and quarantined areas, and hamlets of poor workers to distribute food to local residents. She never thought about the risk of infection because she always wore protective clothes. But that day, when she came to the hamlet, the workers rushed out to receive food and Phuong did not have time to ask them to queue according to regulations.

After receiving the bad news, Phuong couldn't sleep that night. She blamed herself for being so careless. She began to doubt what she was doing, whether doing charity at this time was good or not … So many questions stirred in her mind.

The next day, many relatives and friends called Phuong. The calls suddenly became a pressure on the woman as they said: "If you had not done charity, you would have been fine ", "If it happens to you, how will your children survive?". Phuong felt tormented and guilty, and extreme stress. During the days of waiting for the Covid-19 test results, she was often startled when receiving a call from an unknown telephone number.

She called psychologist Nguyen Thi My Hanh in panic and insecurity. Hanh, a member of PsyCare, a mental health care project during the epidemic season launched by the Faculty of Psychology, Ho Chi Minh City University of Teacher Training, said that Phuong is one of many people who have called her for psychological support during the pandemic.

“Many people called us when they were F1, F2 cases. But if they do not get support in time, especially when they unfortunately became F0, they can fall into a state of collapse," psychologist Hanh said.

“Not only people who are at risk of infection, during this period when everyone has to stay at home, negative psychological states appear in many different target groups. People feel lonely, bored. People at risk of infection feel insecure, even panicking when they see a strange phone number. Those are the typical feelings,” she added.

According to the weekly morbidity and mortality report released by the US Centers for Disease Control, symptoms of anxiety and depression during the Covid-19 pandemic increased from 36.4% to 41.5%. The study analyzed data collected from August 19, 2020 to February 1, 2021 over two periods from 790,633 people of 18 years of age and older.

Dr. Cao Tien Duc, former Chairman of the Psychiatry Ward of 103 Military Hospital, said that Covid-19 is a serious trauma that affects the human psyche, making people susceptible to mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

'Vaccines' for the human spirit amid the Covid-19 pandemic

"During the time of social distancing, when everyone has to stay at home, there are many negative psychological states that appear in different groups of people." Illustrative image: Truong Thanh Tung.

According to a study by Dr. Duc and his colleagues, people under concentrated quarantine, people in locked down areas, and those who serve people in isolated areas… had a very strong psychological reaction. In particular, the elderly, women, children, and people with low education are vulnerable to psychological impact.

 

Explaining why the Covid-19 epidemic is a factor that causes mental health problems for people who are not at risk of infection, Dr. Duc said that social distancing affects the socio-economic and financial problems of businesses and families.

In addition, staying at home for a long time makes people uncomfortable and frustrated because they do not have communication with others. Prolonged stress is also the cause of increased anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Dr. Vivian Pender, President of the American Psychiatric Association, told the medical journal Medscape that social distancing can have a major impact on people who rely heavily on connections and social relationships.

According to a study conducted with nearly 900 Covid-19 patients in the US after two months tested positive for SAR-Cov2, 26% of them were depressed, 22% had anxiety, and 17% had symptoms of post-traumatic stress.

Psychologist Hanh said that the pandemic is a challenge that the whole world is facing. The psychological trauma caused by the situation is huge and will last a long time, even when the epidemic is under control.

Hanh said that we have to view the epidemic as a force majeure, so if we or our family members are accidentally infected, it is not our fault.

“What we need to do is to join hands and unite to control the disease, not to discriminate against and avoid infected people. One of the most important factors to overcome the epidemic is that we need to strengthen the body's immune system, and one of the very important vaccines to create a good immune system is a person's spirit. The mental vaccine helps us to have the right faith and awareness to stay proactive to prevent and treat the disease,” she said.

PsyCare project provides free psychological support and advice for all people across the country with the message “Lifting spirits, beating Covid”. The project has the participation of more than 40 psychologists, educational psychologists, psychotherapists, clinical psychologists, doctors, and more than 10 volunteers and coordinators at mental counseling centers and hospitals throughout the country.

Readers can contact PsyCare via its fanpage, Zalo, or hotlines for support and advice.

Fanpage: psycarevietnam

Consulting phone numbers:

0347.600.379
036.388.3597
052.225.3418
090.150.8800
0983.211.030
0703.265.444

Nguyen Thao

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