Life has never been the same since the rise of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Many people have been struggling with feelings of stress, anxiety, loneliness, and depression. Individuals living in different parts of the world haven’t been capable of meeting their family members for a long time or being there for them when they get sick. Wedding and birthday celebrations have been minimized to a great extent to avoid large gatherings. Children have been struggling with boredom and isolation, as they stopped going out, seeing their friends, or doing fun activities outside.
In the State of Qatar, COVID-19 cases started at the end of February 2020, and accordingly, the country imposed a set of precautionary measures to combat the spread of the virus early in March 2020. The first phase of the gradual lifting of the restrictions, imposed due to COVID-19, took place by mid-June 2020, but most people maintained strict social distancing until August 2020, when the third phase of the gradual restrictions’ lifting started. Staying at home most of the time for about six months, in addition to the months that followed, was a real mental challenge for many people, especially residents, who mostly live in small apartments and don't have family members in the country.
According to a research study, more than 10,000 calls were received by mental health helplines in Qatar from March to July 2020. The study further showed that there was an adverse impact on mental health globally and that people worldwide, including Qatar, showed higher levels of depression and anxiety. Some developed what is called the Cave Syndrome, which means that people get so attached to the COVID-19 situation that they are not willing to leave their homes or show up in public, even after restrictions are lifted.
Therefore, while we should follow the official instructions imposed by the country, which are meant to slow the spread of COVID-19, we need to take good care of our mental health and well-being. For example, we can make up for the face-to-face interactions with others by interacting with our family and friends using video calls. It's also important to go for walks and increase self-care behaviors, including eating healthy, exercising regularly, sleeping well, and preserving a daily routine. In addition, it's important to know about the services offered by the Ministry of Public Health
that are concerned with COVID-19, including the National Mental Health Helpline (16000)
, and be unhesitant to seek help when you feel it's needed.
Tell us about your experience during this hard time. How have you been taking care of your mental health or dealing with any feelings of stress? What are the activities you have been doing with your children at home to enable them to cope with the COVID-19 situation? Have you ever tried contacting the National Mental Health Helpline (16000) in Qatar? Share your comments with us!