Today, countries globally will be observing World Mental Health Day (WMHD).
Here at home, as we work on moving beyond the pandemic, the Minister of Health, the Hon. Kim Wilson shared a World Health Day message for the community.
“Without question, COVID-19 has had a more significant impact on our mental health,” Minister Wilson said.
“In Bermuda, many client presentations to Community Mental Health Services have been related to the pandemic, with anxiety or depression due to job loss or economic instability a factor.
“The thread of the impact of the coronavirus, whether health-related, economic or simply exhaustion due to the length of the pandemic, is woven into many mental health reviews.
“Persons known to the mental health services required ongoing support, while some have undergone a deterioration in their pre-existing mental health issues.
“I’m pleased to note that as the Premier and Minister of Finance, the Hon. David Burt announced in his Relief Package Ministerial Statement on July 15, the Government will be providing additional funding for the provisions of increased mental health options in Bermuda.”
Minister Wilson continued, “A part of ‘living safely with Covid’ involves adjusting to a new normal. Yes, the coronavirus is still here in our community, however preventive care is essential, and it is critical that we resume good health routines. So, how do we manage mental health as we continue to manage this ongoing pandemic?
“There is a directory of service providers available to assist at https://helpingservices.bm/directory/ which can be used for general health and, also, filtered for ‘health – mental’.
“As the WHO stated, ‘no health without mental health’; therefore, it is vitally important we value ourselves and prioritise self-care.”
The Minister shared that the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute (MWI) offers the following tips for persons to consider should they be having challenges with their mental health:
- Be gentle with yourself. We have been living through unprecedented times, and there is no right way to respond to the stressors we have been facing. Experiencing a degree of anxiety is normal.
- Take a break from the news. We can sometimes feel bombarded by negative news and images, so disconnecting and doing something else can be a good distraction.
- Reconnect with previous interests to instil a degree of normalcy.
- Take care of yourself. Try to eat a balanced healthy diet, exercise, lessen your alcohol intake, and avoid alcohol and other substances as a ‘go-to’ if feeling stressed.
- Prioritise sleep.
- Try to maintain connections with others – family and friends.
- Focus on what you can control instead of worrying excessively over things you cannot control. And, avoid spending too much time on social media.
- Practicing mindfulness can be beneficial; this can be a simple addition to your day.
- Practice gratitude. Pause and reflect on what we remain grateful for along with reminding ourselves what might be going well, despite the pandemic.
- Take things at your own pace; what works for some may not work for others.
Minister Wilson concluded, “Lastly, take a look around. We are living on an island of exceptional beauty. Absorbing the vibrant colours of the ocean and getting out into nature can be very restorative for mental health.
“Reflecting on the journey we have been on, let us be kinder to ourselves and to one another; it can positively impact our own mental health.”
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