Covid-19 mental toll on Malaysians

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As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on in Malaysia, mental health issues are wreaking havoc across the country. Social isolation, economic uncertainty, and the death of loved ones, as in most of the world, have become key drivers of anxiety, despair, stress, and other issues.

Since the beginning of the year, 89.4 percent, or 109,806, of the 122,328 calls made to the Health Ministry’s help hotlines have been requests for emotional and psychological support. Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the Director-General of Health, announced the figures, adding that the majority of calls to its Mental Health Psychosocial Support Service (MHPSS) were due to job and income loss, as well as family and marital problems.

According to The Befrienders, a Malaysian emotional support service, around 34% of the calls it got between March 18 and May 16 were related to the effects of COVID-19. Rising incidence of domestic abuse are also likely to be influenced by mental health issues. Calls to women’s support centres, many of which were about domestic abuse, spiked considerably during lockdown periods in early 2020. Malaysia’s Women’s Aid Organization and the government’s Talian Kasih hotline both reported an upsurge of 44 percent and 57 percent in cases following the announcement of the first lockdown.

The COVID-19 lockdowns in Malaysia have also had a psychological impact on students. According to a study published in the International Journal of Environment Research and Public Health, the situation has caused considerable anxiety among Malaysian students. According to the report, “the primary stressors include financial limits, remote online teaching, and uncertainty about the future in terms of academics and career.”

These are 5 simple ways for us to keep our mental health in check:

  1. Allow yourself to feel your emotions.
    Given the probable rise in care demands, danger of infection, and equipment shortages, among other stressors, you are going to feel enormous pressure. Stress and the sensations that go along with it are not a sign of weakness or a reflection of your ability to accomplish your job and task.
  2. Use coping skills on purpose.
    Put into practise stress-relieving tactics that have previously worked for you. These can include obtaining enough rest and finding respite time at work or between shifts, eating meals (preferably, healthy food on a regular basis), engaging in physical activity, and remaining in touch (with appropriate social distancing) with family and friends.
  3. Maintain regular check-ins with yourself.
    Keep an eye out for signs of depression/stress disorder, such as persistent melancholy, problems sleeping, recurring memories, and/or thoughts of hopelessness. Speak with a trusted coworker or boss. Be willing to seek expert assistance if symptoms persist or worsen over time.
  4. Take breaks from reading the news and using social media.
    Make it a habit to take breaks from your computer and phone on a regular basis. When you return to the internet, look for information from trustworthy sources rather than just those on your social media feed. You are not required to consume everything produced by a 24-hour news cycle.
  5. Bolster yourself by recalling the significance and significance of your effort.
    Remind yourself that, despite the current difficulties and disappointments, you have a worthy calling — caring for those in need during a period of immense uncertainty. Take a minute to acknowledge the efforts and sacrifices made by your teammates.

Lets fight and win this Covid-19 together. #KitaJagaKita

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