COVID-19 has severely impacted lives of Guyanese – psychotherapist

Guyanese clinical psychotherapist and life coach, Shane Mark Tull

As the world continues to grapple with COVID-19, Guyanese clinical psychotherapist and life coach, Shane Mark Tull, believes the deadly COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted Guyanese both mentally and emotionally.
The psychotherapist recalled that Guyana has long struggled to address the issues of depression and suicide, and as a clinician with expertise in mental health, he wants to bring a specific competency to addressing these issues.
Tull explained that over the past six months, the world has changed, it will have to adapt to the new measures that would guarantee peoples’ safety during the trying times. However, with this new change, it will have a social impact, especially in Guyana.
“Guyanese are so accustomed to being out and about, and having to be home with your kids can lead to a lot of anxiety for anyone that is dealing with that. Think about a single mother who would have to work from home, home school the kids, and do everything else, that can be anxiety-provoking for anyone,” he explained.
Tull stated that with all the pressure that comes with COVID-19, there have been an escalation in alcoholism, in the consumption of drugs or prescriptions pills, and people are getting into more arguments with their significant other.
“Within my clinical experience, a lot of persons are on the verge of breaking up…just the fact that our lives have been halted in such a drastic way and so suddenly, I think that has definitely increased out anxiety,” he explained.
Tull added that the fear of not knowing when the pandemic will be over, and with a lot of misleading information on social media, can also add to the anxiety.
“People are just tired and they are fed up, that’s why they get back out and stop wearing masks, and they do whatever they want to do. We should do everything to advise against that, because research have shown that when you wear masks, the disease will not spread,” he explained.
In order to protect one’s self from being mentally affected during the pandemic, Tull suggests, Guyanese should spend more time interacting with their families, and maybe getting out of the house for some fresh air.
In terms of persons in the medical field who might be affected mentally by the COVID-19 pandemic, Doctor Tull suggests a session to allow them to sit and ventilate their feelings.
He posited that once someone can ventilate their feelings, it would be easier to address the issues affecting them.
Tull added that at this juncture, health care workers should be encouraged and given credit for their bravery and dedication in battling the pandemic.
Finally, the Doctor said that though the pandemic has brought about challenges, it has contributed to an increase in humanity, and has brought family and friends together.
“This is our new normal, and we just have to encourage each other to be patient and see how we can all manage this together,” he said.