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Mental Health In Lockdown: Recognising Symptoms And Helplines To Call

With COVID-19 still looming over us, it's especially important to monitor your health during this period. But physical health isn't the only thing you should be concerned about. From worries about contracting COVID-19 to uncertainty about the future, the current circumstances can also take a toll on your mental health.

In addition, sobering figures about suicide rates have recently emerged. According to Channel NewsAsia, suicide rates in Singapore were at 8.36 deaths per 100,000 residents last year. Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) reports that this is the leading cause of death for those aged 10 to 29, with rates up by 10% from 2017. There is a high chance that suicide rates will continue to rise, especially with the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

There have also been reports that the number of calls made to mental health hotlines has jumped worldwide. CNN reported that calls to US federal crisis hotline Disaster Distress Helpline spiked 891% compared to last year. In addition, Reuters said that in China, hotlines established in response to the COVID-19 outbreak have been flooded with calls.

Here are some symptoms of depression to look out for during this period.

1. Sleeping too much or too little?

Changes in sleeping pattern on both extremes, be it insomnia or sleeping more than normal, can be an indicator of depression.

2. Loss of appetite?

Another symptom of depression is finding it difficult to eat due to never being hungry or experiencing noticeable weight loss for no discernable reason.

3. Lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities?

Sure, we can't go outside, but if binge-watching Netflix or having Zoom chat sessions with your friends no longer appeals to you either, you may be depressed.

4. Constant tiredness?

Those suffering from depression frequently feel drained and lack energy or motivation to carry out simple tasks.

5. Persistent feelings of hopelessness and helplessness?

While everyone experiences such feelings from time to time, recurrent patterns of feeling lost and helpless can also be a sign of depression.

Whom can I talk to?

If you find yourself struggling with anxiety and depression during this period, here are some helplines you might find useful.

National CARE Hotline (24/7): 6202-6868
This helpline was set up recently by the Singapore government to help anyone facing stress or anxiety caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline (24/7): 6389-2222

Samaritans of Singapore (24/7): 1800-221-4444

Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6385-3714
This charity offers free counselling for those with mental health woes.

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