Increasing COVID-19 cases and psychological implications
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Over the years, nations have suffered varied forms of pandemics. Pandemics present a host of health and mental well-being issues. The current COVID-19 pandemic and its damning implications is no exception. Thus, the Ghana Psychological Association (GPA) is concerned about the effect of this era on the mental well-being of the citizens of Ghana.

Generally, the citizenry are becoming aware of the underlying health conditions that increase one’s susceptibility to the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, not many are aware that some psychological distress can also trigger those underlying conditions and make some persons more prone to both the disease and to psychological breakdown. Studies show that those who have pre-existing mental health problems are at risk of the disease while the disease also have
increased risk of mental disorders and neurological problems even months after the infection has cleared.

The GPA is by this, alerting the general public to take mental health issues more seriously by seeking psychosocial help. The public is also to note that persons with health anxiety (that is those who are very sensitive to health issues, formerly known as hypochondriacs), people who are known to be suicidal, people with underlying health problems (Asthma, diabetes,
cardiac problems etc), have a higher risk. Individuals who have had several hospitalizations, people who suddenly withdraw from others or reduce social interactions, and those grieving over any form of loss, more so the stress of providing care for hospitalized relatives are more prone to psychological distress. Also, people on probation and those unsure of their fate, people with relationship/marital issues, joblessness, the poor, the sick and the vulnerable need more psychological support, in addition to physical support, especially in this COVID-19 era.

There is no time in history that humanity needs a multi-dimensional and multi-sectoral support than now. The membership of GPA are professional psychologists with specialities in Social Psychology, Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Counselling Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Community Psychology, Educational Psychology, just to mention a few. The GPA since April 2020 has been involved in the fight against COVID-19 in providing psycho-education and psychosocial counselling services to victims of the pandemic and their families. The Association is open to supporting individuals and organizations in this direction. Currently, our members are poised to seeing a psychologically sound Ghana in the midst of the pandemic and beyond. You can always reach a professional counsellor through GPA on +233 55 347 0086.

The GPA commends all well-meaning Ghanaians who have upheld the COVID protocols and contributed in diverse ways to fighting this pandemic. However, we want to reiterate that COVID-19 is real and infection rate has heightened in all 16 regions across the country in recent times. The death rate has also increased drastically, compares to total deaths in 2020.

This trend calls for caution and strict compliance of the protocols. Everyone has a primary responsibility to self-preservation and we cannot do less. We, therefore, encourage all to take
the COVID-19 protocols seriously and adhere to the new government restrictions to arrest this unpleasant situation that Ghana and the entire world are grappling with.

We embolden victims of COVID-19 to seek psychosocial help by themselves and for their loved ones, should they experience or see signs of any psychological distress. Finally, we urge heads of organizations and facilities whose frontline workers and caregiver who witness deaths of patients and are gripped by the increasing fear of catching the infection, to access psychological services for themselves and their staff to maintain their sanity and ensure their total well-being.

We should remember that we can subdue and even overcome the COVID-19 virus within 14 days of strict compliance of wearing the nose mask and upholding all other protocols. The role of each individual is critical to succeed. This is the sure way to win this fight.

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