MONTEGO BAY, St James – People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 can be subjected to stigma, blaming and shaming, which can take a serious toll on their mental health.
To this end, mental health specialist for St James, Georgia Rose, says the ministry of health and wellness has implemented telepsychology to assist patients.
According to Rose, telepsychology is the provision of psychological services using technological modalities such as videoconferencing or the telephone, in place of face-to-face methods.
She further noted that there are several emotional factors associated with contracting the novel coronavirus.
“There is a range of emotional responses to COVID -19. The responses vary depending on the impact on the individual and their resources. Responses may include fear, anxiety, feeling of hopelessness, obsessive thoughts, compulsive behaviours, such as sadness, feeling depressed, and social withdrawal, while some individuals feel calm,” Rose explained.
A St James resident, who did not want to be named, and who has recovered from COVID-19, stated that when she was made aware that she contracted the disease, she was still interacting with her family.
Her greatest fear, she said, was rejection from her own family members and depression.
“My husband is a funny man. I was afraid that he would scorn me, but he was very helpful and supportive, which made me feel a little better. At one point, the coughing got so bad that every time it happened I thought I was taking my last breath. I became depressed thinking that I would die leaving my family, but God saw me through,” she told the Jamaica Observer West, stressing, “I am a woman of faith and I pray night and day for recovery from this coronavirus.”
Rose stated that her counselling methods encourage patients to have constant interaction with friends and family members, in an effort to boost mental health.
“Remember that we need to remain considerate and loving of each other. Our human response is most important at this time, and we are encouraged to support and maintain emotional connections using the range of technological options available, such as video chats, instant messaging, and other social media platforms,” she argued.
“Be mindful that we don’t only attend to our physical health, such as washing our hands…we must rest, relax, eat well, exercise, practise our faith, connect with loved ones, and most important, allow some joy and happiness in our lives.”
She stressed that COVID-19 is a universal virus, and no one is exempted.
“Be reminded we are not being punished. This is a universal issue. COVID is not an indictment on any one person,” Rose argued.
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