Fil-Am psychologist gives tips on caring for your mental health during difficult times

All over the world, shelter-in-place orders have been put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus, and people have become creative with how to pass the time.

This 5-year-old still had fun celebrating his birthday, minus the guests.

These art-loving people have resorted to virtual nude painting.

Others have found comfort in nature.

Being devoid of human contact could have effects on people’s mental health — according to Fil-Am psychologist and author Kevin Nadal.

“It might cause things like anxiety, and depression, and isolation … but it also might lead to some physical and health issues such as sleeplessness, insomnia, difficulty eating, people who are just constantly in fear, of this virus and what it will do for them.”

Nadal said the pandemic has been especially hard for cultures that value close family ties — like Filipinos.

“We are so close with our families, we might live with our families with multiple generations in one household. So some needs we have to self-isolate it might be both physically difficult if not impossible, but definitely emotionally and psychologically hard as well.”

Nadal said frontliners have to take extra care of their mental health at a time like this.

“It’s very important for people who are on the frontlines to be able to manage their mental healths to take mental health breaks whenever possible.”

Nadal said there are ways to still stay connected with people — despite social distancing rules, joining virtual hangouts is one way to do it.

“You still need to remain as connected to people as possible. This can happen through phone calls, video calls, zooms, skypes, facetime, even letter writing other ways that you feel a sense of connection.”

And that sense of connection will help us get through this global health crisis.

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