Self-isolation and social distancing have been widely recommended by health experts as the most effective ways of curtailing the spread of the coronavirus.
Since recording its first case two weeks ago, Ghana has adopted some austere measures to help prevent the quick-spread of the virus.
Key among such measures are social distancing and self-isolation which has led to a ban on all forms of social gatherings and a closure of schools.
But as people self-isolate, quarantine themselves and stay at home, they stand a huge risk of falling into depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders.
A study by American medical journal The Lancet notes that ‘the psychological impact of quarantine can be great, resulting in a range of mental health concerns from anxiety and anger to sleep disturbances, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder’.
Realizing the possible psychological effects of the social distancing and staying at home protocols on people, ghanaweb.com sought the expertise of a renowned psychologist to educate people on how to cope with the new normal.
Dr Kingsley Nyarko is an Executive Secretary of the National Accreditation Board and a former lecturer of the University of Ghana Psychology Department.
He provided crucial and valuable pieces of advice on how Ghanaians can deal with the situation.
“There is no need for people to be anxious because you have no control over the virus but what you can control so that you don’t infected with the virus is very important. You can engage in good hygiene, wash your hands properly and all the behavioral and attitudinal changes you have to embark upon, you have to do it. We must also exercise, eat healthy, connect with love ones and sleepy well because the more you do these things, then your immune system is going to be stronger”.
“In any new situation you find yourself, you should be able to look at how you can cash in on that situation. We need to effectively use this period to other things. This is an opportunity for people to get closer to their family and renew their commitment to their families. You can use social media to maintain personal contact with love ones. We should be able to turn the situation to our advantage by using our time effectively. You are a worker, you have a stockpile of work you haven’t done, this is an opportunity for you to do them”
“Instead of being worried and brooding over the situation, let’s focus on turning it around to our advantage. You can use the opportunity to teach your children subjects that they have deficiencies. You are at home and you somebody who loves football, watch football at home. Fact is that you regulate your news consumption, If you think some news items can heighten your fears, then you don’t have to do that. The more you sit at home doing nothing, it brings boredom so you can sit at home and be effective” he concluded.
Meanwhile the country has announced surge in the number of affected cases of Covid-19.
From 93 on Wednesday, March 25, the number has skyrocketed to a questionable 132.
Government says it is doing everything possible to contain the virus.