Coronavirus: our psychologists' advices to face it better

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Those days we are all, with no exception, affected by the COVID-19 emergency. Maybe we all should talk more about this major emergency, since it’s indeed an extraordinary situation, that will need an even more extraordinary and effective reaction. 

In Soleterre we are still helping every day children with cancer and their families with psychological care and economic support, putting all of our energy in it. Nonetheless we thought it could be useful to share some advices for these days. In fact, the meaning of psychology is to promote mental health and to improve psychosocial skills.

The biggest risks in this moment

In this days rules are changing really fast and at the same rate decisions need to be taken, so it is normal feeling as if the resources we have are less then actually needed and feeling scared, angry and powerless.

Major risks in serious emergencies are:

  • losing sight of the goal. We are facing an infection and an illness for which we already have all what is needed to fight, and medicine as well as science always have won against viruses, getting them under control. We need to have faith, endure that it takes time and that we too are part of this knowledge process. Nor the patient or who could become one, nor institutions asking us to reduce our freedom are “the enemy”. We must not mistake an ill person for the illness itself;
  • to be frozen and pervaded by fear, which causes puzzled and confused answers. Usually this confusing attitude affects 70-80% of the population involved in emergency events.

What can we all do?

As we wrote before, we too are part of this challenge against the virus. We just need to follow the instructions about how to behave, avoiding social contacts and sticking to suggested hygiene practices. Aware and active observance of the rules helps to create “herd” protection useful to the entire population.

Adopted behaviours should be those that allow you to:

  • acquire crucial knowledge and skills in order to think before acting;
  • discuss together and share the risks and opportunities of this temporary situation and encourage decisions taken together;
  • manage fear and anxiety by listening to official sources and minimizing or nullifying unofficial informations;
  • continue leading as much of a “normal” life as possible with other things in mind. The phases of threat perception are initially characterized by acting, which must be followed by the normality of thinking (even about something else);
  • follow the rules of behaviour: the simple rules of prevention aimed at preventing the risk of infection of the virus such as frequent and accurate hand washing, not touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands, covering your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough.

These are little big rules that will help us to overcome even this major emergency: let’s take care of ourselves and of everyone else.

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