How to protect your mental health?

Team leader of the National Mental Health Response Team, Dr Chencho Dorji answers questions from students on coping with COVID -19 pandemic.

UNICEF Bhutan
A young girl looks out into the greens
UNICEF/Bhutan/2020/GBhutii
15 October 2020

Can a person feel happy without close friends around?

18, Male, Class 12

Yes! If you are busy or occupied doing something you enjoy such as playing your favorite game, playing with your siblings or your pet animal, being in the company of your family, staying in touch with your friends, eating your favorite food, reading your favorite book, listening to your favorite music or watching your favorite TV shows, you can be happy.

How can we reduce our stress during this situation, the on-going pandemic?

16, Female, Class 10

This ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a new disease, which is affecting everyone in the world directly or indirectly. So, everyone is bound to feel a bit stressed out due to the fear of contacting the virus or due to the restrictions imposed on social gatherings, etc. We call this type of stress “positive stress” as it warns and prepares us to take precautions against getting the virus. A majority of people can get over the stress as they know how to cope with them. However, you can do a few things every day to overcome the stress. For example, maintaining your daily routine such as sleeping on time, waking up at the same time, eating healthy food on time, spending time doing different activities such as reading, playing outdoors, watching TV, or participating in family activities.

How do we cope with situations (such as COVID-19) when we are stressed?

18, Female, Class 12

Stress is something that makes you feel uncomfortable mentally or physically. Stress can make you feel restless, anxious, irritable, angry and not be able to concentrate. Stress can adversely affect your physical body. For example, you cannot sleep properly, cannot eat properly, have difficulty breathing and tension in your muscles and discomfort in the stomach. Sometimes, you can also hear your heart beat loudly.

There are many ways you can overcome the stress by breathing deeply and slowly, relaxing your muscles and telling yourself not to worry. You can also exercise if you feel stressed. Exercise will release some good hormones in the body like endorphins, which will make you feel good and relieve pain.

Will it affect our health when we think too much about the current pandemic?

19,Male, Class 12

If you spend too much time watching  TV or on social media, you will come across many types of news related to the current pandemic, which will make you more worried and stressed out. So, do not spend too much time on TV and social media.

What is the relation between COVID-19 pandemic and metal health problems?

24, Female, Class 12

COVID-19 pandemic is new to us and to protect ourselves from getting the virus, we need to practice physical distancing, wear face mask, frequently wash our hands and avoid crowds. Excessive fear of the virus can cause mental disorders such as anxiety and panic attacks. Social restrictions such as lockdown can compromise schooling for children and loss of livelihood and income of parents and caregivers. Overcrowding, poor socioeconomic status and domestic violence can cause mental disorders such as depression. Restrictions in movement can compromise continuation of treatment for those people, who are already diagnosed and on treatment.

However, we are lucky to be living in Bhutan during this period because the government of Bhutan led by His Majesty The King is doing everything to protect us from the virus and to secure our livelihood. The fact that we don’t have any community spread and no death due to the virus today is testimony of our combined effort.  

Got questions for our professionals? Send them to projectgawa@gmail.com and we will have them answered here.

*Photo used in the story is only for illustration purposes.  

A poster with helpline numbers
UNICEF Bhutan