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2 minute read
4 May 2020
10:00 am

‘Covid-19 is taking its toll on SA’s mental health’

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Levels of distress are bound to increase as more South Africans become infected and/ or lose their income, and social isolation becomes a way of life beyond the lockdown, according to a pharmaceutical company.

Fear and anxiety have gripped the globe as Covid-19 continues to take its toll on human life, economies and society at large. Experts are becoming increasingly concerned about the psychological effects of the pandemic, particularly on the poor, elderly, children and teens, and frontline healthcare workers.

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Abdurahmaan Kenny, Mental Health Portfolio Manager at Pharma Dynamics, said levels of distress are bound to increase as more South Africans become infected and/ or lose their income, and social isolation becomes a way of life beyond the lockdown as a consequence of the outbreak.

“Vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, those with mental-health conditions and pre-existing health concerns are likely to experience higher levels of psychological distress due to the major threat that the outbreak poses to their own personal health. Another high-distress category is likely to include the poor who rely on odd jobs to make a living. Staying at home means they cannot provide for themselves or their families.

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“Equally, parents who are dealing with childcare responsibilities during school closures and work-from-home obligations, may experience greater levels of anxiety as they try to juggle it all while taking care of elderly parents and reassuring their children during the lockdown.”

He added that stress during the pandemic can include fear and concern about one’s own health and the health of loved ones, which is completely normal.

More detrimental changes to watch out for include sleeplessness, difficulty concentrating, feelings of hopelessness, suicidal thoughts and worsening of chronic health problems.Should their symptoms worsen, they should contact their healthcare provider (remotely, if possible).

Those who feel mentally overwhelmed or experience signs of depression can contact Pharma Dynamics’ toll-free helpline on 0800 205 026, which is manned by trained counsellors who are on call from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. The call centre is a critical service to the public and is therefore operational during the lockdown.

Also visit www.letstalkmh.co.za for additional tips and videos to ensure mental well-being during the lockdown. The public is also encouraged to share photos and ideas of their own on the platform to help others get through this challenging time.

 

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