How to deal with depression while in isolation

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has caused major disruption in the lives of billions. In addition to the health, social and economic challenges brought by the disease, the pandemic has also created stress, friction and anxiety to individuals as well as to communities.

The isolation brought by the lockdown and social or physical distancing has been found to trigger depression due to the significant changes in our daily lives. A study found that one in five people will develop major depression in their lifetime and lockdown measures caused by the pandemic could result in more cases of depression.

In times when people are more vulnerable to depression, it is important to help people deal with stress and mental health issues either through activities that help regulates mood, prevent or better treat depression, through counseling or by staying in touch with loved ones.

Study has found that isolation can cause depression. It is important to help people deal with the stress and mental health issues brought by the pandemic.

Here are some ways to manage the emotions associated with isolation:

1. Stay calm and breathe.

A pandemic is beyond any single person’s control and can be overwhelming for some, triggering anxiety. But as history shows, past pandemics were beaten by scientists, governments, and all nations and sectors working together.

Remain calm and focus on things that you have control of: your body, your thoughts, and your home. Practice breathing exercises, meditate, or engage yourself in distractions or activities.

2. Engage in healthy activities.

It is strongly recommended for people to engage in healthy activities they enjoy and find relaxing. Healthy activities can include your personal rituals of hygiene, fixing and managing your surroundings, establishing daily routines orcreating new routines that are productive and rewarding.

3. Stay connected.

While in isolation, it is important to stay connected. Check in on family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors via phone or social media. Having someone to talk to can be very helpful during days that one can find overwhelming.

4. Take a break from the news.

It is important to be informed and updated, however, this can also add to anxiety. Manage anxiety by catching up on news at specific times of the day.

5. If needed, take online consultations.

There are several mental health groups available today that you can call.

National Center for Mental Health Crisis Hotline (NCMH-USAP)

Service: Provides mental health support for all affected by COVID-19

(0917) 899-USAP (8727), 7-989-USAP (8727)

Service: Provides mental health support for all affected by COVID-19

(0917) 565-2036, [email protected], [email protected]

UP Diliman Psychological Services (UPD PsychServ)

Service: Provides telepsychotherapy services for healthcare frontliners 

(0906) 374-3466

Service: Provides online counseling and Psychological First Aid with priority given to frontliners

[email protected]

Service: Provides online counseling for all affected by COVID-19

(0917) 709-6961, (0997) 561-8778

Service: Provides TeleMental Health Services to promote effective coping and resilience for healthcare workers

(0917) 822-2325, (0925) 557-0888

Service: A crisis support helpline for those who need emotional assistance

(0917) 558-4673, (0918) 873-4673, 8-804-4673