BURNOUT AS YOU BATTLE COVID-19? THESE ARE THE SIGNS

According to the Ministry of Health in Kenya, some of those battling Covid-19 pandemic including the health workers can at one point experience burnout. These are the signs of burnout as per the Ministry of Health.

  • Sadness, depression, or apathy.
  • Easily frustrated.
  • Blaming of others, irritability.
  • Lacking feelings, indifferent.
  • Isolation or disconnection from others.
  • Poor self-care (hygiene).
  • Tired, exhausted or overwhelmed.
  • Feeling like: A failure or nothing you can do will help or you are not doing your job well or you need alcohol/other drugs to cope.

This can degenerate to Secondary Traumatic Stress.

What are the signs of this?

  • Excessively worry or fear about something bad happening.
  • Easily startled, or “on guard” all of the time.
  • Physical signs of stress (e.g. racing heart).
  • Nightmares or recurrent thoughts about the traumatic situation.

What should you do if experiencing these signs?

Develop a Buddy System

  • In a buddy system, two responders partner together to support each other, and monitor each other’s stress, workload, and safety.
  • Get to know each other: Talk about background, interests, hobbies, and family. Identify each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Keep an eye on each other: Try to work in the same location if you can. Set up times to check-in with each other. Listen carefully and share experiences and feelings.
  • Acknowledge tough situations and recognize accomplishments, even small ones.
  • Offer to help with basic needs such as sharing supplies and transportation.
  • Monitor each other’s workloads.
  • Encourage each other to take breaks.
  • Share opportunities for stress relief (rest, routine sleep, exercise, and deep breathing).
  • Communicate your buddy’s basic needs and limits to leadership – make your buddy feel “safe” to speak up.

Responder Self-Care Techniques:

  • Limit working hours to no longer than 12-hour shifts.
  • Work in teams and limit amount of time working alone.
  • Write in a journal.
  • Talk to family, friends, supervisors, and teammates about your feelings and experiences.
  • Practice breathing and relaxation techniques.
  • Maintain a healthy diet and get adequate sleep and exercise.
  • Know that it is okay to draw boundaries and say “no.”
  • Avoid or limit caffeine and use of alcohol.

It is important to remind yourself that:

  • It is not selfish to take breaks.
  • The needs of survivors are not more important than your own needs and well-being.
  • Working all the time does not mean you will make your best contribution.
  • There are other people who can help in the response.

HOW TO MINIMIZE STRESS AND REMAIN SANE DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The coronavirus disease commonly known as COVID-19 is stressful for people. Some have contracted it and healed, some are in hospitals and worse, some have lost their lives. As the infections continue to spread in all parts of Kenya, many people are increasingly getting worried, including children. Fear and anxiety about the disease and what could happen is overwhelming and causing strong emotions in adults and children. Many people are already stressed.

According to Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stress during an infectious disease outbreak can sometimes cause the following:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones, your financial situation or job, or loss of support services you rely on.
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns.
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating.
  • Worsening of chronic health problems.
  • Worsening of mental health conditions.
  • Increased use of tobacco, and/or alcohol and other substances.

According to the Kenya ministry of health, COVID-19 has produced a lot of uncertainty. Persistent worries on safety and normal functioning of the community are threatened.

The ministry says signs of stress include:

  • Being easily distracted, trouble with concentration, trouble remembering
  • Trouble relaxing, feeling irritable, feeling down, feeling anxious.
  • Increase or decrease of energy, body tension, feeling restless, sweating, being easily startled, having headaches, changes in appetite, difficulty sleeping.
  • Wanting to be alone, trouble completing works tasks, blaming others or getting into arguments

How to cope with the stress of COVID-19

The ministry of health has advisory include:

Staying Connected with Others:  Even though epidemics restrict access to social support structures, such as schools, workplaces, places of worship, or even spending time with friends and family. Encourage to be creative about how to maintain connections with others during this time.

Talking to a trusted friend or loved one is helpful way to reduce feelings of isolation, anxiety, fear, boredom or vulnerability during social distancing.

Seeking support from family, friends, mentors, and/or spiritual/religious leaders.

Being flexible and creative in accessing support via phone, email, text messaging and video calls.

Talking about experiences and feelings to loved ones and friends.

Wring about their experiences and share them with others through social media and other outlets.

What should you avoid in order to reduce stress during Covid 19 pandemic?

 

More tips of managing stress

Acknowledging that it is understandable to feel anxious and worried about what may happen, especially when many aspects of life are uncertain or have changed.

Making time to unwind and remind oneself that strong feelings are tolerable and will fade. Accept, instead of suppressing emotions, and “ride the wave” of strong feelings by observing how they show up in their body without judgment.

Reducing exposure to distressing news, particularly prior to sleep.

Pacing between stressful activities, with fun activities after a hard task.

Relaxing the body and mind by practicing slow, steady breathing and muscle relaxation, as well as any other soothing actions (meditation and prayer, exercise, walking, music, reading for pleasure).

Maintaining a sense of hope; consider keeping a journal where one writes down things they are grateful for or that are going well.

Engaging in and enjoying pleasant activities (for example: sewing, gardening, cooking, playing board games, music and dancing).

How to Obtain Death Certificate in Kenya

The registration of deaths in Kenya is done through the Civil Registration Department.  You will be required to use eCitizen Portal in order to obtain a death certificate.

Log in to the eCitizen portal, www.ecitizen.go.ke

You will be prompted to log in to your eCitizen account. Enter your email and password if you have an account already.

If it is your first time logging into the portal, you can quickly create an account by clicking on the ‘sign up’ tab.

Application for Current Death Certificate of an ADULT

STEPS

  1. Fill in the online application form
  2. Upload all required documents
  3. Pay for your application
  4. Await feedback, once certificate is ready, you will be notified via SMS.
  5. Applicant should come in person with a copy of the invoice and original identification documents when picking the certificate

REQUIREMENTS

  1. Scanned copy of the burial permit
  2. Scanned copy of identification documents if the deceased above 18 years ie national ID, alien ID or passport.

It is important to note that

  1. Application should be submitted at least 30 days after the date of death
  2. All attachments should be in PDF format.
  3. During collection the applicant MUST surrender the original Identification Card of the deceased

While applying, the details you will be required to fill include:

  1. County of death
  2. Permit No
  3. Exact place of Death
  4. ID Number of the deceased
  5. Name of Deceased as per Identity Card
  6. Scanned ID Copy
  7. Gender
  8. Date of Death
  9. Scanned Copy of Burial Permit
  10. Age of deceased
  11. Occupation of deceased
  12. Address of Applicant
  13. Number of Copies
  14. Pick up Point

Registration of births and deaths was introduced for the first time in Kenya in 1904 and applied only to Europeans and Americans. In 1928 the current act CAP 149 was enacted. This act only provided for the compulsory registration of the deaths of Africans but not for their births.
After independence in 1963, compulsory registration of all births and deaths was extended in phases to other areas beginning with Nairobi and Nyeri on 1 st March 1963. On 1 st September 1971 it became compulsory to register all births and deaths occurring in Kenya.

Talking to children and teens about death by suicide

Parents, teachers, school administrators and other adults in a child’s life often feel unprepared to help a young person cope with a death by suicide. These strategies can help you foster open dialogue and offer support.

  1. Deal with your own feelings first. Pause to reflect on and manage your own emotions so you can speak calmly to the child or children in your life.
  2. Be honest. Don’t dwell on details of the act itself, but don’t hide the truth. Use age-appropriate language to discuss the death with children.
  3. Validate feelings. Help the child put names to her emotions: “It sounds like you’re angry,” or “I hear you blaming yourself, but this is not your fault.” Acknowledge and normalize the child’s feelings. Share your own feelings, too, explaining that while each person’s feelings are different, it’s okay to experience a range of emotions.
  4. Avoid rumors. Don’t gossip or speculate about the reasons for the suicide. Instead, when talking to a child or teen, emphasize that the person who died was struggling and thinking differently from most people.
  5. Tailor your support. Everyone grieves at his or her own pace and in his or her own way. Some people might need privacy as they work through their feelings. Respect their privacy, but check in regularly to let them know they don’t have to grieve alone. Other children might want someone to talk to more often. Still others prefer to process their feelings through art or music. Ask the child how they’d like you to help. Let them know it’s okay to just be together.
  6. Extend the conversation. Use this opportunity to reach out to others who might be suffering. Ask children: How can you and your peers help support each other? Who else can you reach out to for help? What can you do if you’re struggling with difficult emotions?

This article has been adapted from American Psychological Association:

https://www.apa.org/topics/coping-after-suicide

Tips on how to cope when a friend or loved one dies by suicide

Tips on how to cope when a friend or loved one dies by suicide

  1. Accept your emotions. You might expect to feel grief and despair, but other common feelings include shock, denial, guilt, shame, anger, confusion, anxiety, loneliness and even, in some cases, relief. Those feelings are normal, and can vary throughout the healing process.

  2. Don’t worry about what you “should” feel or do. There’s no standard timeline for grieving, and no single right way to cope. Focus on what you need, and accept that others’ paths might be different from yours.

  3. Care for yourself. Do your best to get enough sleep and eat regular, healthy meals. Taking care of your physical self can improve your mood and give you the strength to cope.

  4. Draw on existing support systems. Accept help from those who have been supports in the past, including your family, your friends or members of your faith-based community.

  5. Talk to someone. There is often stigma around suicide, and many loss survivors suffer in silence. Speaking about your feelings can help.

  6. Join a group. Support groups can help you process your emotions alongside others who are experiencing similar feelings. People who don’t think of themselves as support group types are often surprised by how helpful such groups can be.

  7. Talk to a professional. Psychologists and other mental health professionals can help you express and manage your feelings and find healthy coping tools. 

This article has been adapted from American Psychological Association:

https://www.apa.org/topics/coping-after-suicide

How to Cope with Grief and Loss

What is grief?

Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is taken away. Often, the pain of loss can feel overwhelming. You may experience all kinds of difficult and unexpected emotions, from shock or anger to disbelief, guilt, and profound sadness. The pain of grief can also disrupt your physical health, making it difficult to sleep, eat, or even think straight. These are normal reactions to loss—and the more significant the loss, the more intense your grief will be.

 

Is there a time Frame for grieving?

Inevitably, the grieving process takes time. Healing happens gradually; it can’t be forced or hurried—and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.

Tips for coping with grief

  • Talk about it

Talk about the death of your loved one with trusted friends or colleagues. This will help you to understand what happened and also remember your friend or family member. Avoidance can lead to isolation and will disrupt the healing process with your support systems.

  • Accept your feelings.

You may experience a wide range of emotions from sadness, anger or even exhaustion. All of these feelings are normal and it is important to recognize when you are feeling this way. If you feel stuck or overwhelmed by these emotions, it may be helpful to talk with a licensed psychologist or other mental health professional who can help you cope with your feelings and find ways to get back on track.

  • Take care of yourself and your family.

Eating healthy foods, exercising and getting plenty of sleep can help your physical and emotional health. The grieving process can take a toll on one’s body.  Make sure you check in with your loved ones and that they are taking the necessary healthy steps to maintain their health.

  • Reach out and help others dealing with the loss.

Spending time with loved ones of the deceased can help everyone cope. Whether it’s sharing stories or listening to your loved one’s favorite music, these small efforts can make a big difference to some. Helping others has the added benefit of making you feel better as well.

  • Remember and celebrate the lives of your loved ones.

Anniversaries of a lost loved one can be a difficult time for friends and family, but it can also be a time for remembrance and honoring them. It may be that you decide to collect donations to a favorite charity of the deceased, passing on a family name to a baby or planting a garden in memory. What you choose is up to you, as long as it allows you to honor that unique relationship in a way that feels right to you.

  • Seek professional help

Psychologists are trained to help people better handle the fear, guilt or anxiety that can be associated with the death of a loved one. If you need help dealing with your grief or managing a loss, consult with a psychologist or other licensed mental health professional. Psychologists can help people build their resilience and develop strategies to get through their sadness. Practicing psychologists use a variety of evidence-based treatments — most commonly psychotherapy — to help people improve their lives. Psychologists, who have doctoral degrees, receive one of the highest levels of education of any health care professional.

Part of this article has been adapted from American Psychological Association:

 https://www.apa.org/topics/grief