Irish Examiner: Mind your head: experts talk about looking after your mental health
Consultant Liaison Psychiatrist Dr Eric Kelleher speaks to the Irish Examiner about the increased presentations of depression and anxiety during COVID-19, and what people can do in their daily lives to cope with the unprecedented stress of the pandemic.
This article features findings from the College survey of consultant psychiatrists from June 2020. Read report summary here.
Read excerpts from the Irish Examiner article below. Read the article in full here.
The article references a number of findings, including those from Trinity College Dublin’s Department of Psychiatry, Maynooth University and TCD and the College survey from June.
In a survey of 195 psychiatrists by the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland in May and June 2020, 79% reported seeing an increase in generalised anxiety, 72% an increase in health anxiety, 57% an increase in depression and 54% an increase in panic symptoms.
“There is a life-threatening risk so being anxious is appropriate,” says Dr Eric Kelleher, a consultant liaison psychiatrist at Cork University Hospital and Mercy University Hospital and spokesperson for the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland.
“The uncertainty at the outset was frightening,” says Dr Kelleher. “Particularly as images of Italian patients and healthcare workers were being broadcast all over the news.”
During this time, those interviewed stressed that it is important to acknowledge our feelings and work on focusing thoughts and actions that are helpful.
“We take our health for granted when we are well, but the changes Covid-19 has forced upon us has shown how rapidly that can change,” says Dr Kelleher. “The pandemic has made us stop and ask ourselves what we can do to keep ourselves mentally well.”
Start with acknowledgement. “Tell yourself it is normal to feel stressed and to find this time overwhelming,” says Dr Kelleher.