Stay Safe, Stay Sane


When you hear the word CAMP, it suggests some kind of temporary shelter or isolation at a place often far away from the regular place of abode. However, in this context, it is actually an acronym coined as a mitigation against potential mental health challenge, which the current global pandemic portends.

It is no longer news that the COVID-19 pandemic, as at the time of this writing, has reached the one million mark, going by the number of reported cases from around the world. In Nigeria, there have been spirited efforts of the government and other pertinent bodies to contain the spread of this virus, currently, the total number of cases reported is about 990 even though about 200 of those inititally isolated have been discharged, with 31 reported deaths. Going by the deplorable state of the health facilities in our country, one can only hope that this virus doesn’t get out of control.

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It is a no brainer that the ripple effects of this pandemic will inevitably deal a serious blow to the global economy, not just the national. In view of this, there have been myriads of responses from countries on the best or preffered ways to curtail and contain the spread. As a matter of fact, many probably hadn’t been fully aware of the meaning of the word “social distancing” hitherto.

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Apart from stressing the need for all to wash hands thoroughly and use hand sanitizers when necessary this period, another measure put in place is that should there be a need for anyone to cough, it should be done between the elbows, as against directly in the palms. Of course, the traditional handshake for exchanging pleasantries or for sealing commercial transactions is not advised at the moment, to let you know how quickly this virus spreads once anyone has contact with the droplets in which it is present.

The most stringent and perhaps also most inconveniencing but expedient measure put in place by the government of some states in the country is the lockdown order expected to last for four weeks and counting. The implication is that, apart from those in businesses considered by the present administration as “essential”, everyone is expected to stay at home compulsorily.

No religious gatherings at this time; no clubbing or partying, nothing. However, as much as this strategy obviously would help a great deal in containing the spread of the virus in communities, the palliative measures in place have to be very solid and well deployed to the citizenry, especially those at risk; otherwise, there could be more casualties resulting from depression and possible death by suicide than by coronavirus.

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It is simple. When life is threatened and the options for a human being are limited, crime becomes rather attractive. That is because the reptilian brain in humans, primarily responsible for survival, is what kicks in. Such a person is not thinking of any kind of investment than to survive, to have access to food and water, to say the least. Of course, many would be vulnerable at such a time also, negotiating precious and valuable possessions in exchange for what would keep them alive till the whole episode is over.

The most basic need of everyone at this time – whether rich or poor is food – just to stay sane; otherwise panic sets in. Regardless of how much anyone has in his bank account right now, if groceries are not available to buy, then the money has no value.

The reason for my extrapolation is because, technically, many of those sitting compulsorily at home right now are in some kind of isolation and extensive isolation itself can trigger depression, except it is well-managed. Unfortunately, the percentage of those considered to be emotionally intelligent or at least, self-aware in this nation is still low, even among the elite – to know what steps to take exactly in avoiding triggers of such negative emotions.

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So, it is not unlikely for you to find irritations, aggression, desperation, frustrations, altercations, and several other negative emotional responses to be triggered by something as common as power outage. Yes, the power holding company suddenly doing their thing while you are busy watching a very exciting soap opera. That can make the persons affected to make negative remarks in very high tones that reveal rage against the government of the day, and everyone in close proximity might not be spared as well. This is definitely not the best way to respond to such.

It is therefore a collective responsibility for us all to ensure that we do not only stay safe but also stay sane at this period because, whether we like it or not, COVID-19 will pass but if we do not manage the crisis properly and assist others to approach it from the right perspective, there would be casualties from other factors such as mental health challenges etc, besides the virus.

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