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COVID-19 pandemic, hot weather trigger rise in mental illnesses in Ho Chi Minh City

COVID-19 pandemic, hot weather trigger rise in mental illnesses in Ho Chi Minh City

Friday, May 14, 2021, 20:17 GMT+7
COVID-19 pandemic, hot weather trigger rise in mental illnesses in Ho Chi Minh City
Patients wait at the Ho Chi Minh City Mental Health Hospital on May 12, 2021. Photo: Xuan Mai / Tuoi Tre

The COVID-19 pandemic and hot weather have led to an ascent in mental illnesses in Ho Chi Minh City, evidenced by the increasing number of patients at the local mental health hospital.

Statistics from the Ho Chi Minh City Mental Health Hospital showed that 19,850 patients sought check-up and treatment services at the institution in April, up by 2,870 compared to March.

The number of patients with psychotic disorders rose by over 1,000 compared to March and by nearly 6,000 year on year.

According to Vu Kim Hoan, a senior doctor at the Ho Chi Minh City Mental Health Hospital, there are many factors that may affect a person's physical, mental, and psychological health.

Hot weather, or heat, may not be the direct cause but it can trigger serious mental health problems, Dr. Hoan elaborated.

For normal people, heat can cause insomnia, hot tempers, irritability, and even aggression.

Nobody can afford to live, work, or study in a scorching environment for a prolonged period of time.

Without sufficient nutrition and hydration for the body, one may suffer exhaustion as well as fluid and electrolyte disturbances.

A poor physical health status will then lead to reduced labor productivity and mental instability.

In addition, heatstroke can also be life-threatening if not handled properly and promptly.

Dr. Vu Kim Hoan talks with a patient at the Ho Chi Minh City Mental Health Hospital. Photo: Xuan Mai / Tuoi Tre

Dr. Vu Kim Hoan talks with a patient at the Ho Chi Minh City Mental Health Hospital. Photo: Xuan Mai / Tuoi Tre

Coronavirus-induced depression, anxiety

Dr. Hoan mentioned one patient, a taxi driver, who suffers depression and anxiety brought about by financial issues.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of passengers dropped significantly, resulting in a much lower income for him.

The man can barely afford to take care of him and his family while paying for his car, which he bought in installments.

This is just one example of mental problems as a result of the COVID-19 outbreaks.

Hoan added the majority of his patients are adults who suffer mental illnesses after the pandemic had affected their financial situation and led to a series of changes in their life.

Women are more susceptible to depression, anxiety, or the combination of both as they tend to conceal their problems, the doctor said.

Some patients had suffered depression for a decade and only sought treatment after they fell into a crisis.

To overcome these mental health problems, one can try to rearrange their work, reorganize their life, balance such factors as family and social environments, relax, think positively, let go of what is not important, and get enough sleep and nutrients, Dr. Hoan advised.

Those with more severe conditions should go to a mental health facility to be examined by psychiatrists, who will provide the right advice and treatment.

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