WHO: the psychological impact of COVID-19 on society should not be ignored

"Isolation, physical distancing, the closing of schools and workplaces are challenges that affect us, and it is natural to feel stress, anxiety, fear and loneliness at the moment," he stressed this Thursday (03.25.2020) in this regard. a press conference the head of the WHO for Europe, Hans Kluge.

One of the groups most affected is health workers, who are also one of the groups most at risk from the current pandemic (one in 10 infected in Europe belongs to that sector), for which reason the WHO recommended measures to psychologically support them in this difficult time.

Among them, changing shifts in the most stressful positions, increasing communication between work teams, having psychosocial team personnel in hospitals and ensuring that front-line workers have extensive experience, stressed the mental health expert from WHO Aiysha Malik.

Children, especially vulnerable

Other groups to consider in terms of psychological impact are pregnant women, the elderly or children, added Malik, noting that the youngest "may experience anxiety when they see a family member die or should receive treatment," so those who they surround should pay special attention to them and "be honest with them".

The expert also warned that more time at home for some children in homes where there are problems with family coexistence makes them even more vulnerable.

Malik stressed the risk of relapse that these moments of isolation and stress produce in people with addictions, so he conveyed the message that going to alcohol, drugs or gambling to deal with these difficulties "can only make things worse."

WHO experts emphasized that in general the response to these challenges is to show affection and care for others taking into account the recommendations for social distancing, and projecting closeness through a phone call, a postcard or a videoconference.

"It is essential that we face the mental challenges that this crisis produces in Europe and the rest of the world, also disseminating timely, understandable and truthful information to everyone, including the youngest and oldest," concluded Dr. Kluge.