MANILA -- It's important to take care of one's mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to experts.
In a statement released on Facebook Friday, the Ateneo Bulatao Center for Psychological Services acknowledged that this health crisis could be causing increased stress and anxiety, particularly in people with existing mental health problems.
Online posts aimed to spread fear, panic, and discrimination can easily aggravate these, it was added.
"In light of the heightened emotions elicited by recent events, we strongly urge everyone to still take care of your psychological well-being, as best as you can," a part read. "...Being psychologically well, as best as you can, is a part of building resistance against all physical issues and illnesses."
The statement came with important reminders, which can be read below:
- Remember to breathe. When you notice yourself feeling alarmed or panicked, take a pause and breathe three deep breaths: in through the nose, and out through the mouth, making you exhale longer than your inhale.
- Focus your attention on what you can do, instead of the uncertainty of the situation. Focus on safety measures and protocols which are in your control. This may include being mindful in washing your hands, and sanitizing your surroundings.
- Be discerning of the information you receive. Verify sources to avoid falling for content which aim to spread fear and panic.
- Set-up a buddy or support system with friends and family members you can trust. Check-in with each other physically and emotionally, and communicate what you can do for each other.
The statement concluded with: "In these critical times, we must always remember that we are not alone."
"We'd like to invite everyone to work together in protecting and supporting each other through these difficult times in honor of our shared humanity."
The Ateneo Bulatao Center is the research arm of Ateneo de Manila University's psychology department, and has dedicated efforts to promote psychological wellness in schools and workplaces.
Their statement came a week after the World Health Organization said that the COVID-19 crisis is generating stress, advising people to avoid watching, reading, or listening to news that causes feelings of anxiety or distress.