As international mental health awareness week continues, it is important to note that those who are currently battling with mental illnesses may be having an even harder time dealing with life amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The effects that it could have on a person’s mental well-being may be detrimental, especially since help may not be so easily accessible especially with restrictions in place. According to Nurse Eleanor Bennett, a psychiatric nurse practitioner and former head of the mental health unit at the Ministry of health, the Covid-19 pandemic may increase the feelings associated with major illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
Nurse Eleanor Bennett, Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner: “Because of social distancing obviously I believe that people are having problems having that face to face contact with a professional. They might not be able to , if they’re not getting their medication from the government system, might not be able to afford their medication I would imagine. Of course the pandemic itself that really is producing a lot of fear and anxiety among people in general is certainly causing people to be under a lot of stress in itself. It’s a really difficult time for people who already have these mental health issues so for example people who are depressed might be more isolated and that could make their condition worse. People who have a disorder like obsessive compulsive disorder which is an anxiety disorder they’re being told to wash their hands so often so it might really make that disorder worse so it’s a really trying time for people that already have mental health disorders.”
Later in this newscast, we will tell more about anxiety, which is the most common mental disorder affecting Belizeans.