With millions now forced to stay at home to avert further spread of the new coronavirus, the World Health Organisation (WHO) officials have reminded people worldwide of the value of remaining in contact with their families and friends.
“There is no doubt that restrictive measures, stay-at-home orders, restriction of movement, have been quite isolating for people, and all the more isolating for people who are already isolated or vulnerable”, said Dr. Michael Ryan, Executive Director, in response to a journalist’s question about mental health during the pandemic.
Dr. Ryan said like the rest of the world, WHO wants to do away with “these more draconian lockdowns”, which will require governments to step up investment in areas such as public health infrastructure and community education.
Dr. Maria van Kerhkove of WHO’s Emerging Diseases and Zoonoses Unit, recalled that the agency has replaced the expression “social distancing” with “physical distancing” to emphasize the importance of human contact.
She provided ways people can mind their mental health at this time, such as staying physically active, meditating, and taking time for themselves.
“There’s no lockdown on laughter; there’s no lockdown on talking to your family and finding ways to connect,” she said.