Around 1 billion people worldwide are living with a mental disorder, according to WHO, and the coronavirus pandemic has added further pressures. To help people better support themselves – and each another – during the pandemic, WHO published key mental health considerations targeted at different groups, including the general population; healthcare workers; older adults; care providers; people in isolation and those with underlying health conditions.
Minimise watching, reading or listening to news that causes you to feel anxious or distressed.
It makes 31 recommendations, number three below is directed at the general public.
“Seek information only from trusted sources and mainly to take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and loved ones. Seek information updates at specific times during the day, once or twice. The sudden and near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel worried. Get the facts; not the rumors and misinformation. Gather information at regular intervals, from WHO website and local health authorities platforms, in order to help you distinguish facts from rumors. Facts can help to minimise fears.”
This is a welcome resource in response to the impact of COVID. But with one person dying every 40 seconds by suicide, according to WHO, an acceleration in solutions, such as the use of VR innovations, and crucially new investments in a range of support measures, is going to be vital. And on World Mental Health Day, WHO, together with partner organizations, United for Global Mental Health and the World Federation for Mental Health, is calling for a massive scale-up in investment in mental health.
“World Mental Health Day is an opportunity for the world to come together and begin redressing the historic neglect of mental health,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “We are already seeing the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s mental well-being, and this is just the beginning. Unless we make serious commitments to scale up investment in mental health right now, the health, social and economic consequences will be far-reaching.”