Mental Health and Covid-19 Pandemic

Mental Health and Covid-19 Pandemic

On May 5, AMCHAM hosted a videoconference with medical experts from Bangkok Hospital on Mental Health and Covid-19 Pandemic. Attended by over 40 participants, the videoconference was an opportunity for members to learn about managing stress, anxiety, and mental wellness during this time. Sarawan Dever, Deputy Director of AMCHAM Thailand welcomed guest speakers Dr. Apisamai Srirangson, the Director of the Bangkok Mental Health Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (BMRC) at Bangkok Hospital and Dr. Anothai Soonsawat, a geriatric psychiatrist at the BMRC.

Dr. Apisami and Dr. Anothai spoke about the challenges of feeling anxious and other strong emotions even if a person is at little or no risk of contracting the disease. She said that it is natural for people to worry about their families, especially if they are caregivers to the elderly but at the same time, it is equally important to acknowledge their own emotions and feelings during this difficult time.

Dr. Anothai emphasized on the need to keep up with healthy routines while working from home such as discipline to eat on time and sleep well or it can affect a person’s function, ability, and concentration. Both doctors also discussed the impacts of large-scale disaster. During stressful times, people tend to use alcohol as a coping mechanism and can continue to feel the effects of stress long after the disaster has passed.

They gave useful insights that sometimes people who are feeling low do not actually know that are they are depressed but a key indicator is the feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. Both doctors stressed the important of talking about one's feelings and asking for support, citing avoidance as an unhealthy coping mechanism that individuals tend to use during this time. They also emphasized on employers checking on the well-being of their employees and by being there for them through listening and providing Employee Assistance Program, that allows employees to seek medical help for mental health through insurance.

They also advised on consuming news in a healthy manner to avoid information overload and from credible sources. Dr. Anothai spoke about the impacts of social distancing on maintaining social connecting. He encouraged members to be in contact with their families or elder members of the family, who are not living with them through social media, or by gestures such as ordering food delivery for them.  He gave members tips on carving out personal space and time while living or working from home 24/7, and at the same time respecting their family’s space while maintaining their own.

The videoconference was followed by an interactive conversation with AMCHAM members asking questions like how managers and leaders can help their employees at this time.


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