WITH reference to “Let’s flatten mental health curve” (theSun, Oct 13), mental health should ideally be regarded as a basic human right. Economic achievements are not the only measure of a progressive modern nation.
Facing the third wave of the coronavirus, it is not surprising that many Malaysians from all walks of life are facing varying levels of struggle with their mental health: from worsening health worries to social isolation, coupled with financial stress from nil or much reduced income.
If anything, the pandemic highlighted the need for everyone to have equitable access to professional mental healthcare.
However, not everyone is fortunate enough to have the financial means to access good mental health support.
And with competing needs and priorities, our government’s funding for the mental healthcare sector may be found wanting.
At the individual level, striving to proactively practise the 3 Cs below may somewhat help in dealing with the dire, Covid-impacted mental health situation.
• Calm yet cautious attitude, especially be mindful not to contribute to the widespread panic that can hinder efforts to manage the Covid crisis. Follow directives issued by the government and health authorities and always observe good hygiene habits. Maintaining a calm outlook helps when dealing with social distancing, self-isolation or quarantine rules that may feel daunting or overwhelming and contribute to feelings of helplessness and fear.
• Connect with family and friends, even online. This can improve one’s sense of well-being. Stay physically active, have a balanced diet and seek professional mental health support, when necessary.
• Compassion and kindness to each other. In these times of heightened fear, from isolation (both physical and social), and uncertainty, showing compassion and kindness helps build connection with each other. Which, in turn, strengthens our sense of community and solidarity.
Always strive to maintain a balanced, glass half-full ,rather than glass half-empty, attitude or outlook.
The worst of the pandemic will pass, especially given the concerted global efforts to find an effective vaccine.
Try to see this as a new challenge that might even have some benefits. It makes us realise that it is always important to connect with and care for family, friends and neighbours.
Sze Loong Steve Ngeow