Mental Health Awareness Month has the objective of not only educating the public about this but also to reduce the stigma and discrimination that people with mental illness are often subjected to.
Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse and job stress are common, affecting individuals, their families and co-workers, and the broader community. In addition, they have a direct impact on workplaces through increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, and increased costs. Very few South Africans seek treatment for their mental disorders.
Mental health problems are the result of a complex interplay between biological, psychological, social and environmental factors. There is increasing evidence that both the content and context of work can play a role in the development of mental health problems in the workplace.
Mental Health Awareness:
Key factors include workload (both excessive and insufficient work); lack of participation and control in the workplace; monotonous or unpleasant tasks; role ambiguity or conflict; lack of recognition at work; inequity; poor interpersonal relationships; poor working conditions; poor leadership and communication; conflicting home and work demands.
Whilst the workplace can contribute positively to a person’s mental health, it may also exacerbate an existing problem, or may contribute to the development of a mental health problem. Employers should put in place programmes to promote this to workers and to ensure that mental problems are recognised early and treated effectively.
Like physical disorders mental and brain disorders vary in severity. There are those that are: Transient (like an acute stress disorder); Periodic (like bipolar disorder, characterised by periods of exaggerated elation followed by periods of depression); Long-lasting and progressive (like Alzheimer’s disease).Other conditions include: Schizophrenia; Dementia; Depressive disorder; Obsessive compulsive disorder; Panic disorder; Post traumatic stress disorder.
Mental illness can be treated at your nearest clinic, hospital or healthcare provider.
Back to school during COVID-19: Parents and pupils are not just concerned about the risk of Covid-19, but how children will adapt to new practices, such as staying in fixed bubbles and keeping their distance from teachers.
Going back to school after a long break can be disruptive for children at the best of times. But a leading psychotherapist says there is plenty you can do to prepare youngsters for their “new normal”.
Here’s his advice: ‘’Start by asking yourself if your concern about schools reopening is genuinely shared by your offspring. Most children are happy-go-lucky by nature and optimistic about life, but they are worried at the moment because their parents are.’’
There is plenty you can do to prepare kids for their ‘new normal’. “They pick up on what is happening to the important individuals around them. Stability is also really important to children, but all of that went out of the window with the pandemic. While you can reassure them, you can’t tell them nothing has changed. They have clear evidence because they can’t see their friends or grandparents, or go to school. The fear about transmission of the virus is an adult fear. However, this is not the child’s fear. So if they seem worried, ask them why.”
Back to school COVID-19 tips:
Build excitement and see sadness as normal. Prepare for schools going back in the same way you’d approach the end of the summer holidays.“Give your child some positive messages and build up their excitement.’’
“Going back will mean they get to see friends and teachers and do their favourite lessons but there will be a sense of loss that this period at home is ending. They will have enjoyed time with Mum and Dad, even if you found it exhausting. Acknowledge that sadness. Tell them, ‘’I am going to miss you too and I love you’’.
Empower them to embrace the new regime. Going back to school normally brings familiarity and routine, but things will not be as they were. How do you ensure the changes do not scare them or come as a shock? “It’s really important to have an open conversation about what will happen each day, like when you first explained about handwashing and social distancing. Be honest but keep fears manageable and explained in a context they would understand for their age, balanced with real world advice and solutions. Tell them, that these changes are hard and will be hard to stick to, but it is about keeping other people safe, especially friends and grandparents’’.
Cellphones notoriously harbour bacteria and viruses, research shows. With coronavirus cases rising, washing your hands well and often is essential, but so is making sure the surfaces you’re touching are disinfected. The surface you are probably touching the most? Your cellphone.
Surfaces can be notorious for hosting viruses, and some of them linger longer than others. However, scientists suggest it’s possible that it could be active for hours, if not days. It is recommended to clean and disinfect ‘high-touch surfaces’. The goal is to prevent the virus from getting on your hands, and subsequently into your system when you touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
How to clean and disinfect your cellphone:
Keep in mind that some disinfectants like diluted household bleach won’t work well with electronics. Power down first – before doing any cleaning, turn off your phone and unplug from any charger. Use microfiber cloths. These specifically designed cloths have more fibres than other types of cloth, and as a result, can pick up more microscopic particles, including bacteria and viruses. That doesn’t mean it kills them – just lifts them off the surfaces without the use of water. Think of it as a little virus magnet.
Because of that, be sure to disinfect the cloth before using it again. The best way is using your dishwasher – that “sanitize” cycle works like a charm – then hanging it up to dry, but you can also throw in the washing machine with warm water. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling the germy cloth.
Try rubbing alcohol. If your cellphone is particularly grubby, or you don’t have microfiber cloths available, you can disinfect by creating a solution of about 60% alcohol and 40% warm water. Use a small corner of a cloth to gently clean the phone. Immediately use a dry portion of the cloth right afterward.
Don’t spray the alcohol directly on the cellphone, and be sure to dilute it. You can also use a microfiber cloth for this for extra cleaning clout. Regular soap and water works, too, just be sure to use a tiny amount and squeeze out excess liquid before using.
There’s some comforting news for children – only a handful have been infected worldwide. By first reports, the children are not getting sick and seem to do better with it than most adults. In fact, out of nine infants that did contract the virus in China, none of them had severe illness or required to be in the hospital.
This is not to say that coronavirus is not serious. It has an incubation period of 2 to 14 days, so you could have it without symptoms for days. Symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath and fatigue. Also, there have been some case reports of it being spread by people who don’t have symptoms. Lastly, it seems that if you get it, the cough and other symptoms can persist for a few weeks.
What can you do as a parent?
Just like any other infection including colds and the flu, the best way to treat it is to prevent it. This means getting back to basics.
Hand wash, hand wash, hand wash.
This is one of the most effective ways to avoid viruses and germs. But you gave to do it right. Wash your hands with water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Have your children wash their hands as soon as they get back from school or child care, AND wash their hands before they eat. You can use hand sanitizer if water is not available, but make sure the alcohol content is 60% or more.
If the children have a cough, teach them to cough into their shoulder. Cough droplets can travel far, and this is how viruses spread. Viruses can live on surfaces for 24 hours. Laptops and smart devices are constantly being touched. Make sure you wipe counters, door handles and computers often. Have a good nutrition and sleep.
Coronavirus is here but from what we know so far, it is a mild infection for most people. Using old fashioned prevention tips can protect the family – not just from coronavirus, but also colds, coughs, flu and other nasty infections.