Experts Call for Attention to Mental Health during COVID-19

Addis Ababa : Psychologists have stressed the need to give emphasis on mental health care with the spread of COVID-19 in Ethiopia and causing distress and anxiety.

The psychologists recalled that a Policy Brief on the Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health, which was launched by the United Nations last May, stated that the mental health and wellbeing of whole societies have been severely impacted by the crisis of COVID-19.

The policy brief noted that higher-than-usual level of symptoms of depression and anxiety have been recorded in various countries. Depression and anxiety have, for instance, increased threefold in Ethiopia when compared to estimates before the pandemic.

A private psychologist in family, children and behavioral change counseling, Tizita Seducha said the number of patients she has been counseling in connection with COVID-19 has been  increasing.

She said high level of fear of losing family and fear of being infected by the virus were the problems of her clients.

“Though the life style of people is changing, we Ethiopians have been leading close social life   all the years. But now we are learning physical distancing and this is creating depression and anxiety among many of us,” she noted.

The psychologist added that fear of economic failure is also affecting the mental health of the society during this time.

Tizita recommended that “people should always invest their time by discussing issues and exercising. They should also avoid listening to or watching negative information or news during the day. Instead they should learn how to absorb positive energy.”

She further suggested that parents work more on their children as they have got enough time to deal with them and build strong personality in their children.

Psychiatrist at Amanuel Mental Hospital, Anteneh Mehari said people need to focus on their responsibility to overcome the pandemic rather than focusing on the increasing number of the infections.

According to him, “mental health is like other health issues that we may confront in our life. So it needs understanding and recognition. Particularly this time, families, the government and the society should improve their understanding towards mental health as the number of mental health affected people may increase because of several factors.”



Source: Ethiopia News agency

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