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July 6, 2020

Mental health expert suggests ways for coping with coronavirus situation


July 6, 2020

PESHAWAR: A known mental health expert has enlisted five ways along with psychotherapy to cope with the environment of fear arising out of the coronavirus pandemic.

 “Constructive thinking, carrying out light exercise daily, giving time to family, turning to spirituality and rekindling a hope in oneself for self-correction along with psychotherapy can do away with the environment of fear that has gripped the people because of COVID-19 which has affected a greater part of the globe,” said Professor Dr Khalid Mufti, a senior psychiatrist while speaking to a group of journalists at the Ibadat Hospital.

 The awareness-raising session was arranged by following the precautionary measures such as social distancing, mask wearing, etc.

 Senior doctor, who is the President of Horizons orgainsation, which has worked in the mental health sector for 33 years, first talked about the current situation of coronavirus that has caused many fatalities and unprecedented financial losses to the world economies.

 The doctor said World Health Organisation figures showed as of July 4, the Covid-19 pandemic had killed 523,011 people across the world and infected 10, 922, 324.  He said the number of those recovering from the viral infection stood at 6,445,316.  

 The senior psychiatrist, who is South East Asian Zone Representative of the World Psychiatric Association, said according to official figures coronavirus had taken 4,712 lives so far in Pakistan.

 The tally of the confirmed cases in the country is 228, 474, he said and added that 129, 830 people had braved viral infection and regained health in the country.

 Dr Khalid Mufti said a total of 66 teams of researchers were carrying out research to find out the treatment for coronavirus. He said scientists were busy in research to find out the treatment for the COVID-19 but we will have to live in the present situation till the midnight oil these researchers are burning for the treatment is crowned with success.

 The psychiatrist said coronavirus pandemic has disturbed the routine life in most parts of world. “But the greatest damage by Covid-19 is to human mind (mental health) which I call “Moral Injury”, he added.  

 Talking of the historical background of the term “Moral Injury”, Dr Khalid Mufti said it emerged for the first time during the World War II because the moral values were trampled during the war and the negative thoughts led to a sense of weaknesses. 

 Explaining his point, he said the immune system automatically gets weakened when a human being develops a thinking of weakness. “And when your immune system is weakened, any illness can overcome you easily,” he elaborated. 

The doctor said some people think coronavirus is a Divine punishment for bad deeds of the people. But he said Allah is Magnificent and Merciful and Loves His creatures despite their weaknesses in their personalities.

The doctor there was scare due to coronavirus. He believed that the society and social media had a role in creating this scare among the people.

“It has been observed that people start creating scare whenever they meet each other. Switch on the TV set and you will watch and listen to news about deaths caused by Covid-19. One gets worried as such stories are aired time and again. Watching and listening to such news leads you to restlessness, anxiety and depression,” he argued. 

Dr Khalid Mufti said this stress lead people to misplaced apprehensions. “A person suffering from such feelings fears contacting coronavirus if he touches anything. “He washes hands repeatedly to the extent of damaging his skin,” he pointed out. 

The doctor said people could feel better if they acted on some suggestions. “They should always think positive. The constructive thinking increases the immunity in human beings. This power can help them face every ailment, including coronavirus and cancer, with courage,” he went on to add.  

Second, Dr Khalid Mufti said, the people should take light exercise daily. “Extend both hands in front of you, close hands and breath in. Then slowly open your hands and exhale slowly. Repeat this action 11 times,” he said. 

The doctor said then both hands should be put at the back of the neck and elbows moved to flanks and fronts, adding this action should be repeated for seven times and it will give them energy. He said this light exercise can be done by women, elderly and even physically challenged people. He named this workup as “Energy Empowerment.”

Dr Khalid Mufti said thirdly he would request people to keep themselves busy and give time to your family, especially children. “Call relatives, friends and well-wishers to know about their well-being. This will give you satisfaction and   reassurance,” he believed. 

He said the fourth suggested step was turning to spirituality. “Take the greater time that you are spending at your home as a blessing and try to spend it in worship. This will give you mental relief and satisfy your heart through vibes of Divine light “Moarifat”,” he asserted.

 The doctor expert said only Muslims were not convinced of spirituality. He pointed out that Christians, Jews, Parsis, Hindus and Sikh too have own ways of worships and attaining spirituality. The doctor said true worship ends all fears.

Dr Khalid Mufti said the fifth way to cope with COVID-19 is to rekindle in you a hope for self-correction. “Make a determination and tell yourself that you have the ability to perform any work. This magnetic power is there within every human being. There is only a need to arouse it and put it to work,” he emphasized. 

The mental health expert said: “We should have the determination that we can face every ailment, disaster, trying circumstances and this will ensure our success.” 

He said apart from the above five ways, psychotherapy was a good practice to bring people out of this environment of fear and scare. And this can be done by properly trained psychiatrists and psychologists.