Mental Health Thursday 27.05.21: WOMEN, COVID-19 AND MENTAL HEALTH
There is a crucial need to assess the level of risk women are exposed to when talking about women, covid-19, and mental health. This led to the tweet-chat conversation featuring Ruth Oladele @RI_oladel, a seasoned Physiotherapist, multiple award-winning researcher and a gender equality advocate, and Rasheed Tobiloba @real_keekee, Health Educator and a passionate mental health advocate.
QUESTIONS OF THE DAY
Q1. What are your thoughts on the Covid-19 Pandemic that struck early last year, and is still being battled with?
A1. The Covid-19 pandemic is a really world changing situation, I’ve attended to more cases on depression and other mental instability caused from the pandemic than I have since the beginning of my career. The pandemic has affected the day to day running of the human life, ranging from finances to social to psychological and etcetera. -@real_keekee
Basically, the COVID-19 pandemic has widened existing health inequalities especially in LMICs, where there are weak healthcare systems. On the good side, the pandemic has pushed us to leverage on technological advancements in health and other sectors. -@RI_oladel
Q2. Covid19 has affected every aspect of our daily living. What would you say are the impacts of Covid19 on women and girls?
A2. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by Covid19. They have reduced access to maternal and SRHR services during lockdown, increased GBV, forced early marriages, increased burden of unpaid care work among others. –@RI_oladel
According to various researches, violations of women, rape, mental instability, depression, domestic violence of women has increased drastically during the Covid- 19 pandemic. There are also researches with statistical backups on the negative effect the pandemic has had on women. -@real_keekee
Q3. Looking at how Covid19 has drastically affected women and girls. What are its impact on their mental health?
A3. Because of quarantine, a lot of family have been indoor there by increasing the level of pressure on women and even the girl child that has said to have resulted in depression, self-isolation, sexual violation, violence and even as far as behavioural disorder. -@real_keekee
During the Covid19 pandemic, women have had to cope with stressors larger than usual. These have a negative impact on the mental health of women, putting them at risk of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. –RI_oladel
Q4. What are the red flags to a decline in mental health?
A4. Isolation is the very first thing to check for, withdrawal from their daily living especially social life, loss of appetite, mood swings, eating disorder, sleeping disorder, disengagement from friends and family, loss of concentration during conversations. -@ real_keekee
Red flags to a decline in mental health would include a deviation from the individual’s mental well-being. This could be sleep troubles, isolation or loneliness, anxiety, appetite changes etc -@RI_oladele
Q5. @RI_oladel Has there being any demographic based research conducted on the alarming rise of GBV and mental health issues since Covid-19 Pandemic?
A5. In Nigeria, there is a paucity of research on the rise of GBV and mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Quite true We hope that research be given more attention, as it is vital for development.
Q6. @real_keekee How does advocacy come into play in educating the public about mental health issues?
A6. Firstly, a lot of people associate mental health to being mentally impaired which is not so, there are so many mental health issues that ain’t even known by most people, so creating of awareness and explaining to the public the importance of MHI will eradicate ignorance.
By creating awareness and guaranteeing confidentiality, ignorance can be avoided and the public can open up on issues affecting them. -@real_keekee
Q7. @RI_oladel There has being an increase in GBV cases since the #COVID19, how can victims of GBV be supported to cope with their current state of mind?
A7. A combined effort from various stakeholders in the community is required to offer GBV response services to GBV survivors during the pandemic. GBV survivors need mental health and psychosocial support, relief assistance among others. -@RI_oladel
All hands need to be on deck to fight against GBV
Q8. Unlike in the past, mental health issues are very common.
How can people be encouraged to open up more on mental issues and also seek help?
A8. Like I said earlier, promising and keeping confidentiality is one major way to encourage people to open up, people are afraid to open up for fear of criticism and stigmatization so if privacy and confidentiality can be guaranteed, I believe people will open up and seek help.
Any guidelines to help look out and take care of our mental well-being?
A9. Firstly, do what makes you happy in as much as you are not hurting anyone in the process, seek help when needed, exercise and take rest, discover an adequate diet, open up and take to professionals when needed, have a social life and go for educating seminal. -@real_keekee
Our mental well-being is as important as our physical well-being. Exercise is one of the ways by which persons can take care of their mental well-being. Exercise releases certain endorphins which help to improve mood and relieve stress. -@RI_oladel