Tips on Managing COVID-19 worries
Here is a video being used by CNWL to support staff, although the audio is not great, it covers the points below:
Mike Waddington (Communications Director: CNWL) also shared ‘Tips on managing Covid-19 Worries’
What the science tells us
- Social media may escalate anxiety more than traditional media
When you are anxious or worried it is common to seek advice or more information. Research suggests it is better to seek it from the BBC or newspapers, than social media (such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook) which often increases the worries people have already.
Following the emergence of Zika virus in 2016, Man-Pui Sally Chan, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and colleagues investigated risk perception of the disease in the United States. They found that as people read more about the virus on social media, their perception of risk increased. When the volume of information about Zika increased on traditional media, on the other hand, people were more likely to engage in protective behaviours.
- Trustworthy information sinks in
If you need information – look in the right places. Look at NHS sources; the World Health Organisation, the BBC or reputable newspapers. Most people are pretty good at assessing risk when information is communicated accurately and effectively, says psychologist Baruch Fischhoff, PhD, at Carnegie Mellon University.
Fischoff colleagues found in a survey of the U.S. public’s understanding of Ebola following the 2014 outbreak in West Africa that “people can develop well informed risk perceptions—if they get good information from trustworthy sources. They very strongly endorsed the statement ‘Officials should provide Americans with honest, accurate information about the situation (even if that information worries people),’ Fischhoff says.
- A lack of control fuels stress
When things are stressful, we want to do something about it. But we can’t solve problems beyond our control. So know what you can control and do that. Try to accept things beyond your control.
As psychological research has shown for decades, our sense of risk is driven by our emotions.
While anger can lower one’s perception of risk, fear ratchets it up (Current Directions in Psychological Science, Vol. 15, No. 6, 2006). Research has found certain factors are likely to increase fear (and perceptions of peril): when a threat is new and unfamiliar, when people feel little sense of control over the threat. That doesn’t mean they’re overreacting. The covid-19 threat is real.
- Managing stress ASAP can prevent long-term troubles
Keep up your stress management regime: eating healthy, sleeping enough, exercising, staying in contact with family/friends and doing pleasurable activities (that are possible).
A review by psychologist Dana Rose Garfin, and colleagues found people who experienced acute stress in the weeks after a traumatic event were more likely to have negative long-term mental and physical health outcomes, including poor general health; increased pain, disability and mortality; increased depression, anxiety and psychiatric disorders; and more family conflict (Journal of Psychosomatic Research, Vol. 112, No. 1, 2018).
- Quarantines and isolation may increase the odds of negative outcomes
Most of the population are in isolation, so working for the NHS does have the benefit that you are not completely alone. But if you are working from home, remember to connect with colleagues. Use the phone more than before – it will help you and your colleagues.
Psychologist Samantha Brooks and colleagues published a rapid review of the research on the psychological impacts of quarantine, primarily in adults (The Lancet, published online, 2020). They found negative psychological effects including post-traumatic stress symptoms, confusion and anger.
To reduce the risk of negative mental health outcomes for children during confinement, the authors recommend efforts such as close and open communication between children and parents, web-based educational videos to promote a healthy lifestyle at home, and online services by psychologists to help children cope with the tension and anxiety.
Adapted from American Psychological Society – https://www.apa.org/news/apa/2020/03/covid-19-research-findings