As the coronavirus pandemic rapidly sweeps across the world, it is inducing a considerable degree of fear, worry, and concern in the population at large and among certain groups in particular, such as older adults, care providers, and people with underlying health conditions. In South Sudan, the general public is having a similar experience. The main psychological impact to date is elevated rates of stress or anxiety and fear. But as new measures and impacts are introduced – especially quarantine and its effects on many people’s usual activities, routines or livelihoods – levels of loneliness, depression, harmful alcohol, and drug use, are also expected to rise even further. So how can this be prevented among the South Sudanese people?
This fundamental question and many others were answered in the 4th Episode of JHR’s special radio program on coronavirus. The discussion mainly tackled the importance of mental health during the COVID 19 pandemic, dealing with reactions such as psychological stress and how to support others, how to overcome stigma and discrimination related to mental health, and what people can do individually to support mental wellbeing.
The radio program also highlighted how children and young people can particularly be helped to cope with staying at home and the stress of Covid-19, as well as how communities can include persons with disabilities and respond to their psychological needs among others.
Guest speakers included:
Ms. Heida Reida – Mental Health and Psycho-social expert – International Agency for Migration, Ms. Sofia Casas, technical advisor on Mental Health – Humanity and Inclusion (NGO), Dr. Atong Ayel Longar, Ministry of Health, Director for Mental Health.