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Video aid for students, teachers facing mental strain

By Our Correspondent Updated: Aug 21, 2020 10:10 pm
A file picture of school students in Kohima. (EM Images)

Our Correspondent
Kohima, Aug. 21 (EMN):
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted day-to-day activities irrespective of profession, including teachers, as they shift from physical classrooms to online teaching-learning.

Considering the importance of mental well-being of both students and teachers during this challenging time, the department of School Education in collaboration with District Mental Health Programme (DMHP), Kohima, released two videos on August 20.

In the videos, psychologists and psychiatric social workers talk about how to identify one’s mental illness, and offer ways to deal with stress, depression, and anxiety in a pandemic situation.

Veronica Nriame, a psychiatric social worker, DMHP, Kohima, said that managing one’s mental health and psycho-social well-being is as important as managing physical health.

As students, there is uncertainty about resumption of regular life, which has created apprehensions about their life and future. This factor can aggravate students’ mental health and create hurdles in daily life, she said.

‘During this challenging time, it is important to adopt a healthy coping mechanism,’ she added and listed several healthy ways of coping stress and anxiety during the pandemic.

According to her, limiting news and rumours about the pandemic that make them uncomfortable and panic, can help their mental status. She advised that if the news about pandemic makes them feel irritated or disturbed, always follow the news from trusted sources.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important. For students, as school is closed, she advised them to utilise the time to acquire new learning skills, or do any relaxing fun activities. She also encouraged them to devote their time to develop self-management strategies.

‘Make positive changes in daily routine by trying to inculcate physical exercises, hobbies, so as to maintain mental well-being. As students, time management is one of the important factors,’ she said and asked them to give time for their studies as well as for hobbies.

‘During this pandemic, it is normal for students to feel stressed and anxious. Therefore, do not repress such feelings but try to engage in fun activities. It is important to stay in touch with family members and friends during stressful times,’ she advised.

‘If one is not comfortable sharing one’s feelings with family and friends, try to navigate negative emotions by writing a journal or express the emotions in other forms, which suits best,’ she added.

One should not resort to alcohol, tobacco or other substances as means to solve stress. Using these things can affect the mental and physical well-being in the long run, the therapist warned, and asked them to seek help from mental health professionals.

‘Spending ample time playing mobile games and browsing social media sites are unhelpful and will have negative consequences in the future. As students, try to avoid these things,’ she said.

Besides students, the expert also offered ways to cope with the mental health of teachers. While understanding their challenging tasks of arranging notes, giving online classes, she said that it is important to maintain boundaries. ‘Give time to yourself, family and take breaks,’ she advised.

Further, she encouraged them to make a daily routine and follow accordingly, in order to have a better sense of time management.

Offering some basic counselling for teachers to assist students in a better way, the psychiatrist advised them to develop empathy towards students. ‘Being aware of the students’ problems and their environment can help healthier relationships,’ she said.

Further, she advised them to get adequate rest, food and sleep, and express their emotions as far as possible.

In another video, psychologist, DMHP, Kohima, Ketousenuo Phewhuo spoke on the topic of ‘signs and symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression during Covid-19.’ She said that mental health is one of the most disturbed illnesses and it is important to deal with it appropriately.

Some of the signs and symptoms attached with depression according to the psychologist are having negative thoughts, mood swings, behavioural changes, confusion etc.

The stress caused by the pandemic can lead to mental illness. ‘If not treated at the right time, it can lead to medical illness,’ she said.

While speaking about the anxiety disorder, she said that one cannot control anxiety but can always learn how to respond to such disorders in a helpful way. She also pointed out that worries, restlessness, fear, over-thinking etc. are some of the anxiety disorders.

Meanwhile, the principal director of School Education, Shanavas C, informed that the department in collaboration with DMHP have come up with the videos, as the “prolonged lockdown and closure of schools might affect the mental health of students”.

The videos are available on DoSE Nagaland YouTube.

By Our Correspondent Updated: Aug 21, 2020 10:10:21 pm