NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As the government introduces more stringent measures to combat the local spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Bahamas Crisis Centre said it understandable for the public to experience “stress and frustration”.
To counteract the emotional fallout from social restriction, the centre has established a 24-hour hotline.
The line is manned by trained staff, who will support and offer encouragement to anyone who has been affected by loneliness, anxiety, and fear as they shelter in place.
On Monday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced a 24-hour curfew, border shutdown, and a ‘shelter in place’ order, among additional measures that expand emergency powers regulations introduced last week to prevent the local spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Non-essential businesses, which range from establishments that offer entertainment to dine-in restaurants, remain closed.
The public has been limited to leaving their homes only to travel to and from essential business and services such as grocery stores, gas stations, and medical facilities; pharmacies, among a short list of other services.
“The lockdown of our nation is critical to stopping the spread of COVID-19, and as a country we need to follow the emergency regulation guidelines if we are to survive this pandemic,” the centre said.
“However, while we are living under curfew with concerns for our health and physical well-being; our jobs and financial security; [and] with our day-to-day movements limited and access to our usual social activities restricted, it is normal and understandable to experience stress and frustration.
“The tension associated with this might be released as anger and in some cases physical violence and directed towards other members of our households.
It continued: “This is a time of uncertainties and unknowns for us all and as a nation; we must do all that we can to help each other. Please know that the Crisis Centre is here to help.”
The hotline number is (242)-328-0922.
If there is difficulty reaching the hotline, the centre can also be contacted on (242)-565-9633.
In an interview with Eyewitness News, Dr David Allen, a leading psychiatrist, expressed concern about the prolonged effect of the national lockdown on the populous, suggesting that if balance is not maintained, there could be “national paralysis, and hopelessness”.
To limit fear and anxiety, Allen encouraged the public to practice the acronym ‘STOP’ — Stop; Take Breaths; Observe; and Proceed — amid the global health crisis — a measure he practices three times a day.