As South Africa is currently in a
three-week nationwide lockdown to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus
(COVID-19), many people are experiencing heightened feelings of uncertainty,
unrest and loneliness.

“While these feelings are completely
understandable, given the unprecedented nature of the situation, it is
important for everybody – especially those who are predisposed to mental health
conditions – to learn how to cope and manage any added stress being
experienced,” said  Paul Miller, CEO of Cipla Medpro. South Africans
should not only look after their own mental health during the lockdown, but
also check in to ensure that family and friends are doing the same, he encouraged.

Highlighting the highly stressful
nature of the healthcare profession during this time, Miller notes that “caring
for our carers” is more important than ever.

“Healthcare professionals are
at the frontline of tackling this pandemic, and in a country where there’s a
shortage of medical professionals a massive diseases burden, they can also
become overwhelmed and stressed or experience burnout.

“These are unprecedented times, and
everybody is going to react in different ways. It’s important for people who
may be feeling more stressed, depressed or anxious than usual, to know that
there are ways to help manage this, and people to turn to for support.”

 The World Health Organisation (WHO)
has also highlighted the importance of encouraging mental and psychological
well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak, stressing “this is not going to be a
sprint, but a marathon”.

 Cipla’s mental health partner, the
South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), has a plethora of resources
across various channels available to help people cope with mental health
pressures during lockdown. Here are some helpful tips from SADAG to reduce
stress during the lockdown:

  • Maintain a daily routine.
  • Restrict media and social media coverage to
    prevent it from becoming too overwhelming. Only obtain info from credible news
    sources.
  • Acknowledge your feelings and focus on
    things you can control.
  • Find things to keep you busy (whether it’s
    constructive or creative) to help lift your mood.
  • Stay connected with your loved ones via technology.
  • If you’re on medication, remember to take
    it as prescribed.

 For assistance, call the Cipla SADAG
24-hour mental health helpline on 0800 456 789 or via WhatsApp on 076 882
2775 between 9am – 5pm

 Source: Cipla