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Covid survivors need all round support: Experts

Sufferers need platform to address mental and emotional issues

28 Oct 2020 / 15:45 H.

PETALING JAYA: The proposal for a support group should be pursued to help survivors of Covid-19 get back on their feet.

Experts agree that it will also serve as an ideal platform for them to address mental and emotional issues after testing positive for the infection.

Such groups are known for offering support and friendship to anyone recovering from an ailment.

Internal medicine specialist Datuk Dr Rajbans Singh said it would be a good initiative as it enables survivors to talk to each other and share their experience in not just fighting the infection but also addressing their fears and concerns.

Rajbans, who is also president of the Malaysian Wellness Society, said topics such as mental and emotional well-being can be discussed in a group to help survivors overcome the after effects of the infection.

He noted that some who have recovered continue to feel depressed while others still have symptoms such as headaches, tiredness and sleep disruption.

“I believe that by giving them an opportunity to share their similar problems with others, will allow them to find some sort of solace,” he told theSun.

In addition, Rajbans said, forming an official survivors group would help spread the word about life after recovery to the masses.

“Many still do not understand that Covid-19 survivors go back to being just like everyone else after they have recovered. There is no need to be afraid of them or discriminate against them.

“Just like dengue, once the patient has recovered, he or she is not contagious any more.”

Programme officer at All Women’s Action Society Malaysia Mayna R. Patel agreed that Malaysia should have a support group for Covid-19 survivors as it falls under the topic of near death experiences.

“Such experiences lead to trauma for the survivor,” she said.

“This support group should also be opened to family members who have lost loved ones to Covid-19.”

Patel added that there are many types of emotions the survivors could be feeling – sadness, anger towards others for not abiding by the SOP thus causing the spread of infections, guilt for possibly not following the SOP themselves.

“The services must tackle these emotions carefully. One-on-one counselling and group counselling should be included.

“Group counselling helps families know that they are not alone and there are other families facing the same emotions, while one-on-one counselling may help empower survivors to help them get back out there and break the stigma.”

Malaysian Medical Association president Datuk Dr M. Subramaniam said an official support group will give strength to those suffering from the disease.

“The group should play an important role in offering mental health and emotional support, and help educate the public on the importance of observing preventive measures.”

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