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Psychologist urges public to combat the coronavirus outbreak with calm

Publish Date: 25-Feb-2020

A clinical psychologist from HKSKH St Christopher’s Home contributed to a column in Echo to remind the public not to panic in the face of the pandemic disease.

As the Coronavirus outbreak continues to rage on, the society lives under a heavy cloud of anxiety and fear. People have been worrying about the virus infecting themselves or infecting their family members. Some queued overnight in front of supermarkets and pharmacies for surgical masks while others rushed to stock up on toilet paper in panic. These actions fueled further anxiety in the city.

Facing the unpredictable risks of pandemic disease, people could not help but feel unease, anxiety, tenseness, despair and helplessness. These are all normal reactions under our self-defence mechanism. This is a fight or flight response, in psychological terms. It is a choice people make when they come across fierce beasts in nature. In the face of this severe outbreak, people worry about the risks to their lives and stock up on resources to protect themselves so that the infection would not affect themselves or their family members. These are all understandable reactions.

However, aside from protecting our bodies and enhancing our immune systems to combat the virus, we must also attend to our mental state. We must adjust and fortify our emotions so that we and our family members could maintain a hopeful and positive attitude to overcome our immediate difficulties.

The column advises people follow the government’s health guidelines and not to exaggerate the risks; stay calm and not to panic; analyze information rationally and not to allow themselves to be led by their emotions, and attend to others’ needs regularly.

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