The year 2020 will be rather remembered as the year of COVID- 19 that changed all our lives. The situation of the pandemic was something that the world had never seen before says Paul Haarman. As soon as the world was alerted about the first case of the novel coronavirus, news channels were filled with headlines related to the deadly parasite spreading wildly, first in China and then to the rest of the world.
During these challenging times, one cannot ignore the important contribution that the media made. Experts like Paul Haarman have acknowledged that the role of the media was commendable in spreading awareness, especially about important information related to coronavirus. Through effective media communication, people were conveyed methods to follow steps that could stop the spread of the virus by keeping themselves safe.
State of mental health in COVID-19
Apart from spreading information among people, the news that we saw also had a deeper impact on us and our mental health. COVID- 19 not only made us realize the importance of living a physiologically healthy life but taking care of our mental health as well.
According to the latest survey conducted in June 2020, there was a 13% increase in adults reporting substance abuse owing to the pandemic stress. That’s not all, as there was also an increase of 11% in suicide rates during the time. These numbers might appear to be small, but they can lead to an alarming stage. People had access to unlimited sources of news articles sharing cases, articles related to the worsening of the situation. There was a significant increase number of people feeling anxious, depressed, and even burnout.
The positive role of the media
On the brighter side, these reported numbers can also mean. That more people mustered the courage to consult professional help for their mental state. Various media sources also provided a platform for many people to come forward and share their coping stories. In a tsunami of bad news, even a headline of positive news was like this was a fresh breath of air for many. Some news channels also gathered experts to share their views on holistic living.
Discovering new coping methods
People were also able to discover many mental health initiatives. That provided help to those in need. And also realized the importance of keeping a check on everyone under all circumstances.
According to Paul Haarman, it would be unfair to focus on only one aspect of a situation, as the covid 19 times also provided an opportunity for many people to discover their talent and find new ways of coping. Choosing methods such as indulging in hobbies, meditating, living in a healthy headspace. Were also encourage by content creators online as well as news channels.
On a final note, if one considers the role of media on mental health during the pandemic. It would be unfair to say that media only contributed to the panic. It can be rather reframe that the media only informed people about the current state. But it also played a role in promoting a new lifestyle that also focused on mental wellbeing in reducing panic.