COVID-19 is largest pandemic for over a century. Its effects have spread around the world, profoundly impacting every sector.
It has affected everyone’s way of life, but not just physical health. Mental health has also become a significant issue.
Spokesperson for the Department of Mental Health, Apichat Jariyavilas, has talked about how social distancing measures have impacted people’s level of anxiety, even after lockdown measures have been relaxed.
“It was very new for people all over the world, and no one expect it. One of the problems is that people suddenly had to change their way of life, and it has dramatically affected people’s state of mind. Anxiety and worry about the economy, society and health have led to stress. People need to adjust to ways with which they may not be familiar.”
“What we have done is attempt to increase people’s understanding about the problem, how to live and how to protect themselves. When people understand how to keep themselves or each other safe, I believe it reduces tensions in society.”
Apichat added that, at the same time, we have seen people adjust very quickly, such as the widespread use of face masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing.
Clinical psychologist, Akaluck Wong-apai, from Srithanya Hospital, claims that he has seen a significant increase in patients walking into the hospital to see specialists.
“There was an increase in patients after state lockdown.”
“At first, many people presented in a highly stressed condition, mainly due to the lack of reliable information, and did not know how to deal with their anxiety. After more information from the government become available, there developed a better understanding of how to live under the new circumstances.”
Akaluck said that access to reliable information is the most important factor for everyone.
Experts say that, although most people found it difficult at first, they have managed to adjust to the new normal. People who are still having a hard time need to seek expert help, to prevent any adverse psychological effects of the pandemic leading to something more serious.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)