Vivian Nassozi, a resident of Rubaga had a panic attack yesterday on Monday night when one of the residents confirmed by the Ministry of Health was said to have been from her area.
“I have followed the coronavirus story from January when it was still very far from us. I cannot imagine that it is now in my area. I’ve been seeing announcements of television as well and all this is getting me scared each day,” Nassozi told Nile Post.
Another Ugandan (who’s name we shall conceal) on social media said that he didn’t take the coronavirus news seriously until now that the cases are increasing and the President addressing the country very often.
“This whole coronavirus thing has started giving me chills and I am worried that I might have a relapse yet I was starting to heal from my mental issues,”
But these are not a lone, many people with mental health problems can easily undergo relapse especially in such a time when the world is still struggling to contain the coronavirus that was announced as a pandemic by the World Health Organization.
In a conversation with the Nile Post, Rita Auma, a lawyer with Cymbell Advocates and a mental health advocate who founded Netya Spaces advised that is important for one to protect mental health as much as they do with their physical health.
“Try as much as possible to protect your physical health. Wash your hands, use sanitizers because its better to prevent than treat something you could have avoided (but) understand that you cannot control everything. The serenity prayer could really help you to come down,” Auma said.
Auma advises that in case you have anxiety, try to stay away from social media or news outlets that could trigger you into a panic attack.
“Make a list of things you have wanted to randomly do around the house but failed due to lack of time. Place them in a jar and pick one task to accomplish,”
“Take time to evaluate what you really want or where you want to go. The world is at a standstill. Let this time work for you,” Auma advised.
Auma is also an author of the book titled “Dear Me” and in her book, she shares her own story on how she fought with mental illness, anger and self hate hoping that the reader could find themselves within the lines.
She co-founded Netya Spaces, which she says that it is a safe haven for people to find support and love on their journey to healing and this will be open to anyone seeking help with how to deal with mental health.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) also released a series of guidelines on how one can protect their mental space at such a time and why it is important.
WHO advised that “stay connected and maintain your social networks that even when isolated, try as much as possible to keep your personal daily routines or create new routines.
“If health authorities have recommended limiting your physical social contact to contain the outbreak, you can stay connected via e-mail, social media, video conference and telephone,”
“During times of stress, pay attention to your own needs and feelings. Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Exercise regularly, keep regular sleep routines and eat healthy food.”
WHO also advises that a near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed and you can beat this by seeking information updates and practical guidance at specific times during the day from health professionals and the WHO website to avoid listening to rumours which might make you uncomfortable.