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Warning signs for those needing professional help are: frequent anger, lack of concentration, forgetting things, getting easily irritated
, sadness and permanent fears.  - A.M. Costa Rica illustrative photo -


Published Friday, September 25, 2020

Nurture mental health in times
of pandemic, say specialists

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Social Security specialists urged the population not to ignore their mental health, even more now when people are facing prolonged stress generated by the pandemic.

It is important for people to recognize that a global sanitary emergency is affecting every person around them, from their families, work and communities, said Celenia Corrales-Fallas, representative from Social Security.

"It is necessary for people to live in the here-and-now and with the people around them to be grateful for what they have,” said Alfonso Villalobos-Pérez, from the psychology department of Social Security. “Despite the uncertain future that people may have at this time, it is necessary not to anticipate any negative issues.”

Villalobos added, "We must share with our loved ones, even though using technology devices."

There are other activities that people can carry out while maintaining preventive health measures, such as going out for short walks, investing time in the garden or playing on the patio. The goal is to break the routine, breathe fresh air and take a moment in the sun, "because it is not healthy to stay all day within four walls," specialists said.

It is also important to carry out activities such as listening to music, painting, crafting, playing games, among others, that the person can do alone or share with their family or with their social bubble.

Both Villalobos and Corrales agreed that good therapy helps by just talking with others. They urge that open spaces for expression and listening are important for emotional balance, as well as taking an opportunity to help others.

According to Social Security, there is also professional help, which is free and easy to access by calling line 911. Therapists are available 24/7, giving emotional support to those who require it.

Warning signs for those needing professional help are: frequent anger, lack of concentration, forgetting things, getting easily irritated, sadness and permanent fears, Villalobos said.

Specialists recommend listening to someone in need, whether it be a friend, neighbor, relative, or coworker. Simply listening to someone in need can be a great help if they are not emotionally well.

The level of stress in people has undoubtedly increased as they have been forced to be in quarantine since March, especially for those that have experienced economic hardships because of company or business closure, unemployment and the increased risk of being infected with covid-19.

The spread of the virus has not slowed down, in fact more infected patients are reported on a daily basis, and increased deaths, according to the authorities.

On Thursday the Ministry of Health reported the following on the statistics of the virus:

1,400 new covid-19 cases, bringing the total to 42,110 active cases.

13,078 foreign-born people have been infected with a total of 69,459 cases since March, approximately 18.8% of the total cases.

• 610 patients are being treated in public hospitals, where 253 patients are in ICU’s in delicate health conditions (ages range from 1 to a 91-year-old person). And 357 patients are in recovery rooms. The majority of the rest of the infected patients are quarantined in their homes.

• 26,554 coronavirus patients have fully recovered, which is a 38.2% recovery rate of the total cases since March.

• 129,114 people have been ruled out.

• 213,404 medical covid-19 tests have been made.

795 deaths of people infected with covid-19, approximately 1.1% death rate of the total cases since March. Of these 307 were women and 488 men. The ages range from 19 to a 100-year-old person.

As of Aug. 31, authorities confirmed the death of 31 foreign-born patients. The youngest and most recent victim was a 19-year-old woman who lived in Guanacaste Province. Before then, on July 30, the ministry announced they would not provide updated information on foreign-born people who died from covid-19 in the country, which at the time authorities reported 30 had died from the virus since March.

Readers can see the updated number of total patients in each district at the National Distance Education University on its
Covid-19 Map.

As of Wednesday night, the pandemic has killed 981,808 patients worldwide, according to recent statistics reported by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

Have you heard of people seeking therapeutic help because of the pandemic? 
We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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