Sunday 5 April, 2020

Concern about mental health of Caymanians amidst pandemic

A charity in the United Kingdom has warned that the coronavirus pandemic could result in a mental health crisis.

The ripple effects of coronavirus have the potential to lead to a worsening of the mental health conditions of many of those suffering with OCD, general anxiety, and depression. There is also the added risk of suicide.

"Loneliness can be a killer,” says UK charity, SANE. “A study of 300,000 people found that it is associated with a 29% increase in mortality. In other words, it is a significant factor in poorer health outcomes and premature death and we need to balance these risks.”

An article in USA Today confirms that “suicide prevention experts say it's reasonable to expect the current pandemic will lead to increased suicide risk for certain populations. Social distancing and quarantines may trigger those currently dealing with suicidal thoughts. And research shows the social and economic fallout from the pandemic may amplify the risk for some people well after the outbreak has ended.”

A news report from NBC reveals that COVID-19 is a “personal nightmare” for those with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, reinforcing prior obsessive habits and Vice News confirms that “Coronavirus Quarantine Is Hell for People With Anxiety Disorders.”

In an effort to reduce the negative mental health outcomes as a result of coronavirus, a number of local mental health support channels are being offered to the community.

Intake services for The Counselling Centre (TCC) and the Family Resource Centre (FRC) will be available by appointment between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (walk ins have been suspended due to COVID-19).

Residents of Cayman Brac will be offered telephone services by the TCC and the FRC, as travel to the Brac has been suspended until further notice. DCS clients needing support can contact TCC (949-8789) or FRC (949-0006).

The Alex Panton Foundation will be providing a series of virtual community workshops on coping with COVID-19. The workshops will be hosted on Zoom and 20 spots will be offered. These spaces are first come first served. Once a spot is requested, the Alex Panton Foundation will send the link to join the workshop on the day of the event. All three workshops will be recorded and shared on its website and social media platforms for the public to view. To register, visit the facebook page of the Alex Panton Foundation.

Persons having difficulty coping and managing coronavirus-related stress during these difficult times can call a new confidential mental health helpline operated by the Cayman Islands Government in collaboration with private partners. The number is 1-800-534-6463 and hours are Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. Additional hours will be added as needed.

DCS will periodically be sharing important information on its website and encourages clients and their families to visit the site to help them cope with the challenges they may be experiencing.

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