For the first time in history, a shared experience is forcing us to become a truly global community, namely the diagnosis, treatment and containment of COVID19. Our focus is on the physical manifestations of this disease but there is an unseen, insidious side to this pandemic: the psychological impact of quarantine with uncertain time horizons. This is especially concerning for high risk adults over 70, healthcare workers and individuals with pre-existing mental health disorders.
In “The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence,” published in the Lancet, March 14, the authors performed a literature review of the quarantine impact on mental health across previous outbreaks including SARS, Ebola, H1N1 influenza pandemic, Middle East respiratory syndrome and equine influenza.
We can glean important insights from their review. Quarantining can lead to depression, fear, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder. While these feelings are transient for many, for others including the elderly and those suffering from pre-existing mental disorders, they can be lasting.
We need to talk about this with family, friends and co-workers and importantly, we need to do something about it.
The Lancet authors cite a number of steps governments, health authorities, the media and the public can take to manage the negative impacts of the COVID19 quarantine:
- Limit the quarantine period to the absolute necessary timeframe
- Eliminate panic and alarmist messages
- Ensure adequate water, food and medical supplies
- Provide frequent messages on the status of the virus with a focus on hope for the future
- Express appreciation for people’s altruism at a time when each of us must sacrifice for the greater good
- Use social media, constructively, to stay in contact with each other
- Communicate with home and facility bound elderly to show love, concern and support
Every day, we hear stories of hope, resilience and kindness, whether it’s single elderly adults sheltering together; retired healthcare workers volunteering at local hospitals; people donating money, food and supplies to those in need.
#COVID19 #quarantine #stayathome #quarantinelife
Tags: Lorraine Marchand, Life Sciences Market Maker