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  • Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Director of Mental Health Services, Dr. Kevin Goulbourne, said that persons could have adverse reactions to being quarantined or isolated, for varying reasons.
  • Dr. Goulbourne told JIS News that in learning to cope, it is important for persons to bear in mind the importance of the public health regulations and look at the long-term benefits rather than the short-term containment experience.
  • He said that persons can also read, play virtual games and take up new hobbies.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is encouraging Jamaicans to be innovative in dealing with the quarantine and isolation associated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) in order to reduce stress levels that these measures may cause.

Speaking in an interview with JIS News, Director of Mental Health Services, Dr. Kevin Goulbourne, said that persons could have adverse reactions to being quarantined or isolated, for varying reasons.

He noted that because it is not the norm for persons to be locked away for extended periods they may become restless, especially when the period of isolation or quarantine is uncertain.

“Usually when someone who is very sociable is placed in quarantine or isolation, they find it difficult, especially if there is much testing and retesting being done. If a person is to be retested to determine if they can be released, they tend to be upbeat. If they are found to be COVID-19 positive when they had expected to be negative, they generally respond to this news in a negative way,” he explained. Dr. Goulbourne pointed to instances where dashed hopes of being released have led to hysteria and persons threatening to harm themselves, noting that some will actually attempt to do so.

He said that the experience can be traumatic if the person is alone with nothing to do and is restricted to a small space.

He noted that for someone who is claustrophobic and having difficulty being confined to a small area, innovative methods should be employed to distract the individual.

“They may need to interact with other persons via videoconferencing, so they have a sense that they are not in the small space but are with other persons,” he said.

Dr. Goulbourne told JIS News that in learning to cope, it is important for persons to bear in mind the importance of the public health regulations and look at the long-term benefits rather than the short-term containment experience.

“We encourage them to think about the bigger benefit for the country and how they can use this time in a different way to enjoy themselves. In other words, don’t focus on the problem; focus on the possible solutions to the situation and how you can be a part of the solution,” he advised.

Dr. Goulbourne said that persons can also engage in activities such as the virtual parties, which have become a feature of the free to air media landscape “where persons can enjoy themselves as if they were at a party on the outside”.

He said that persons can also read, play virtual games and take up new hobbies.

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