KIU, Western Campus – As COVID-19 continues to disrupt the globe, Mental health has become a growing concern for many health experts.
According to a BBC report, a survey by YoungMinds has found that the Coronavirus pandemic is having a profound effect on young people with pre-existing mental health conditions.
In the light of this, the Head of the Department of Psychiatry at KIU Western Campus, Dr Benedict Akimana, has come up with five key tips that can help students stay well in this temporary lockdown period.
1. Limit the use of social media. Dr Akimana says social media is full of “fake news” and wrong information that may cause panic and bring stress to students. They should limit the use of social media to basic communication with friends, and only get the right information about the progression of the pandemic on verifiable sites like the Ministry of Health, WHO and KIU websites.
2. Engage in indoor leisure activities and read. Dr Akimana says engaging in leisure activities like watching movies, playing games and reading books on subjects of personal interest do not only reduce on boredom, but give students the opportunity to learn new things and also keep their brains active, and this is very good for their mental health.
3. Desist from substance abuse. Dr Akimana acknowledges the fact that with a lot of free time on their hands, students might decide to engage in substance abuse like drinking alcohol and smoking. He advises them to stay away from these, as they are very addictive and also affect their decision making as well as being the leading causes of mental instability.
4. Engage in prayer and meditation. Prayer and meditation help one to get closer to God and also clear their heads, heart and souls. Prayer also reduces on depression, which is good for their mental health.
5. Use this time to strengthen bond with family. Dr Akimana says this lockdown period is a very challenging one, and every person needs their loved ones by their side. He advises students to use this time to strengthen their bonds with family members by talking to them and giving more time to understand each other more, and where possible, mend the broken fences.