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Mental health experts: Slow down to cope with Covid-19 trauma

  • Published at 05:24 pm March 13th, 2021
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Representational image Bigstock

At least 14,436 people committed suicide between March 2020 and February 2021

Mental health experts have urged the public to slow down instead of rushing to make up for the time lost during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The global health crisis will have a long-lasting impact on mental health, and slowing down, not rushing, is the best way to cope with the fallout, the experts said.

Dr Helal Uddin, associate professor at the National Institute of Mental Health in Dhaka, told Dhaka Tribune: “People have faced tremendous loss in the past year. Some lost their loved ones, some lost opportunities or their jobs, and everyone lived their life in anxiety and fear of contracting the virus. 

“Instead of lamenting their loss or rushing and taking added pressure to make up for the lost time, the people need to slow down and be grateful for what they have,” he added.

The professor further said the pandemic had more of an adverse effect on the mental health of women than men.

According to the Aachol Foundation, a non-profit foundation that works toward suicide prevention, altogether 14,436 people committed suicide between March 2020 and February 2021. The foundation collected the data from news reports, police headquarters and hospitals. 

Kaan Pete Roi, an emotional support helpline, has received a total of 30,000 calls since it started operating in 2013. It received 3,650 calls in 2019, but the number of calls shot up to 8,520 in 2020. 

Relationship issues, academic problems, career crisis, financial issues, dealing with discrimination and abuse are the primary reasons why people called Kaan Pete Roi. 

Ashik Abdullah, chief of training and outreach at Kaan Pete Roi, told Dhaka Tribune: “We do not charge anything from the people who take our service. In this time of distress and uncertainty, people need somebody to talk to about their mental health issues.” 

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Covid-19 pandemic has had a major effect on everyone’s lives. Many are facing challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Learning to cope with stress in a healthy way will make everyone more resilient.

The CDC suggested taking breaks from watching, reading or listening to news stories, including those on social media. They also recommended regularly taking deep breaths, stretching, meditating, trying to eat healthy and well-balanced meals, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, getting vaccinated for the Covid-19 vaccine when possible, making time to unwind, trying to do some activities that are enjoyable, and connecting with others.

They also suggested avoiding excessive alcohol, tobacco and substance use.

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