The Ministry of Health and Wellness is encouraging Jamaicans who may be experiencing anxiety or stress out of concern over the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) to contact its mental health line at 888 NEW LIFE (888-639-5433).
“Anxiety and stress are normal responses to a public health challenge of this magnitude. Among other things, COVID-19 has required that people self-quarantine or otherwise physically distance themselves from others. This can be stressful for anyone and in some people can lead to feelings of isolation,” said Director of Mental Health and Substance Abuse at the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr Kevin Goulbourne.
“We urge Jamaicans to talk about their fears and anxiety. It is amazing how therapeutic it can be to share your feelings and with someone who takes the time to listen. The mental health team at the Ministry is here to listen and to support our Jamaicans through this public health challenge. We therefore welcome those calls,” he added.
It is now more important than ever that Jamaicans take care of their emotional health and there are a number of ways that they can do that from home.
- Stay in touch with friends and family. Give them a call or reach out to them via social media.
- Take a break from social media. While social media is a good way to stay in touch with friends and family, the excessive use of social media has been known to fuel anxiety among some persons.
- Keep a journal. It is always a good idea to have an outlet for self-expression. A journal is a good way to do so.
- Exercise. Feel free to work up a sweat, increasing, in the process, the body’s ‘feel good’ chemicals known as endorphins.
- Smile. A smile, research has shown, can work wonders in helping to reduce blood pressure while improving your mood and reducing stress.
For more tips on preserving your mental wellness, visit https://www.moh.gov.jm/mental-health/. There is also an available platform for self-expression at: https://www.moh.gov.jm/mental-health/how-to-share-your-story/.
Meanwhile, remember to:
- Wash hands frequently with soap and water or clean with an alcohol-based rub;
- Cover your nose and throat with a tissue when coughing; and
- Avoid close contact with anyone with a cold or flu-like symptoms.
Also, maintain a physical distance of at least one metre from others when out in public.