The COVID-19 pandemic and its related impacts have created strong feelings of uncertainty for people over health, finances, separation, isolation, and a host of other issues. Often, these feelings can lead to anxiety or depression, affecting their ability to function well at work and at home.
Aramco has worked hard to ensure employees and their families have resources to meet the demands of these challenging times. And as activities begin to resume, it’s important to continue to monitor our own mental well-being.
First, it’s important to remember that experiencing anxiety in such uncertain times is normal and common. However, when it begins to cause distress and impact daily activities, you shouldn’t hesitate to take note and know you are not alone. Don’t hesitate to call your doctor and seek professional help, as dealing with these symptoms early on is significantly critical to improving your health, quality of life, and well-being.
Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare has developed a comprehensive “Mental Health Tool Kit” available online that provides 10 helpful ways to perform first aid when managing uncertainty, anxiety, and depression.
Should you have questions about the long-term mental health consequences relating to COVID-19, be sure to consult with your primary care physician or local mental health services. Treatment like medication and psychological therapy is available.
How do I know if I’m suffering from anxiety or depression?
Anxiety and depression are commonly associated with each other and many of the symptoms overlap. Symptoms of anxiety may include difficulty sleeping, constant worry, lack of concentration, lack of appetite, restlessness, and constant checking of social media, while symptoms of depression include loss of interest, feeling sad or angry, becoming withdrawn, poor memory and concentration, hopelessness, thoughts of death and self-neglect.
COVID-19 Mental Health Tool Kit
The COVID-19 Mental Health Tool Kit is an online resource for people in isolation, quarantine, and their family and friends. It provides guidance and practical steps to help manage your emotional health during this stressful time. Visit jhah.com/covid-19 to find the Mental Health Tool Kit.
Emotional Help Line
Although we recognize the necessity of the precautions, there is growing concern about the impact on people’s mental health as a of result periods of isolation or quarantine. Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare (JHAH) has launched a new service, the Emotional Help Line for people who are admitted to JHAH, in a quarantine facility, or in home isolation.
The Emotional Help Line provides psychological support and counseling when needed. The hours of service are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday to Thursday (013-870-1919).
managing uncertainty, anxiety, and depression
Recognize your own emotions when you are worrying or are in a low mood. Be aware that a high degree of certainty is just not possible, however much we would like it. Manage your thoughts of uncertainty by trying to separate what is in your control and what is not in your control. Attend to things that you have control over.
Promoting a sense of safety
Improve your sense of safety by educating yourself about mental health and the coronavirus using information from reliable sources. Following good hygiene habits and measures to limit the risk of infection, as published by the infection control authorities, will promote a sense of safety.
Try alternative ways of making contact with others if you cannot go out, such as phoning, texting, video calling and emailing friends and family. Contact others on a daily or regular basis and let them know how you feel.
Maintaining a routine
Maintain a healthy routine as far as it is practical. For example, make sure you have enough sleep and do some physical activity if appropriate. Modify your daily activities and increase activities that you enjoy doing.
Rather than worrying all the time, try to set aside a specific time each day and call it “worry time,” but do not do this close to your bedtime.
Avoid excessive checking of social media and consider turning off notifications from unreliable or anxiety provoking sites. Focus on information that provides practical steps for yourself and your loved ones. Amplify positive and hopeful stories, such as stories about people who have recovered from the virus. Use technology positively to promote community safety and a sense of control.
Challenging bad thoughts
Identify and challenge any worrying thoughts or negative thoughts of helplessness. These are central to anxiety and depression. Examine the evidence that does not support your negative thoughts. Shift your negative self-statements to positive self-statements that allow you to function with less distress. For example, rather than saying, “This is a terrible time,” you can say, “I am sure that I will overcome this terrible time.” This will normally convert your emotions into positive emotions and positive actions.
Reliable sources of information
Identify reliable sources and allow yourself to check one source once a day, such as the World Health Organization, National Centers for Disease and Control, and your local Ministry of Health or National Health Services.