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How to support the mental health of frontliners

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The Inter-agency Standing Committee (IASC) said that frontline workers might feel stressed and overwhelmed, and this feeling may keep them from going to their jobs and provide a sense of purpose.

By Michaela Tangan
Features Writer, The Philippine STAR

STAR’s CG Live presents ‘Mental Health Check During Lockdown’

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been taking a toll on everybody — from innocent children, adults trying to make ends meet, to frontliners working round the clock to serve and save lives. While the end of the pandemic is not yet in sight, we hope for the best but continue to ask questions and feel scared and anxious.

In CareerGuide’s online forum titled “Mental Health Check During the Lockdown,” psychiatrist Dr. Rene Samaniego and Jean Goulbourn of IASP Philippines noted: “It is okay not to be okay.”

The Inter-agency Standing Committee (IASC) said that frontline workers might feel stressed and overwhelmed, and this feeling may keep them from going to their jobs and provide a sense of purpose. Some might also experience ostracization or exclusion from the community due to stigma.

Moreover, chronic stress might also affect their well-being and work, even after the COVID-19 situation begins to improve.

If you are or have a loved one who’s a frontliner, Ms. Goulbourn said that utilizing warm water, practicing deep breathing, and making a game plan may help ease feelings of anxiousness. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) and IASC shared the following tips:

– Show different form of support and acknowledge the role they play to save lives and keep our loved ones alive.

– Take care of your physical health and practice a healthy lifestyle by eating sufficient healthy food and engaging in physical activity.

– Use wireless forms of communication to stay connected with friends, family and other loved ones.

– Talk and open up about how you feel with your colleagues, managers and other trusted persons in your workplace — they might be feeling the same.

– Try and use helpful coping strategies such as ensuring sufficient rest and respite during work or between shifts.

– Avoid vices such as tobacco, alcohol or other drugs to cope with the stress.





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