It may be tempting to try to block out the world altogether to avoid bad news, but it's important to keep yourself informed. We all have to step up during a pandemic because we all have a part to play in reducing the spread of the virus. It's important that you know what must be done and how you should do it. This is important for the health of your neighbours and your own mental health, and taking action can help counter difficult feelings like hopelessness and despair.
One study from people in China found that people who had reliable up-to-date information about the coronavirus and COVID-19 illness and accurate instructions on how they should act (such as instructions around hand-washing and wearing a mask) felt more resilient and felt better able to handle the virus. People who received good, accurate information reported lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. This research is available for free at www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/5/1729.
Of course, it's okay to set limits. Staying informed does not mean that you have to follow the news all day. Check in a few times a day, sticking to trusted sources and media outlets. While social media can be a great way to keep in touch with family and friends, social media can also amplify bad advice, vague or untrue stories, and other unhelpful information. Be sure to use good critical thinking skills.
About the author
The Canadian Mental Health Association promotes the mental health of all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing a mental illness through public education, community-based research, advocacy, and direct services. Visit www.cmha.bc.ca.
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