The Covid-19 pandemic around the world has left serious mental health problems for people, especially cancer patients and survivors.
Clinical Psychologist for Medical Rehabilitation at the Dharmais Cancer Hospital Jakarta, Nelly Hursepuny, M.Psi said that the uncertainty of the pandemic raised psychological problems such as stress, feeling burdened, irritability, as well as anxiety which trigger a decline in immune system and vegetative symptoms.

“Also appear the effects of pain and headache that can make people difficult to sleep. Some people also experience disturbances in their diet, and have no appetite. Even if the person has always had no appetite since a long time ago, this time is not like usual,” said Nelly in the YKPI webinar series themed “Mental Resilience of Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors during the Covid-19 Pandemic” recently.

Therefore, it is important for the patients and survivors of breast cancer to have mental resilience. Nelly explained mental resilience is a person’s ability to rise from worse conditions.
“Like a ball when we throw it on the ground, it will bounce back up. So is a person with mental resilience or mental toughness. When his/her physical and psychological, social and economic condition deteriorates, the person will succeed in rising up, thanks to his/her mental toughness,” explained Nelly.

Then, what constitutes mental resilience?
The first is ‘I Am’ or individual strength that is formed within oneself, such as feelings of empathy, caring for others, or feeling proud of what has been achieved.
“This has to be maintained. If I can say ‘I am proud to have achieved all of these, it means I have undergone a long series of treatments, which then I am able to survive,” said Nelly.

The second is ‘I Have’. It means external supports gained from the surrounding environment, such as family, friends, colleagues and relatives.

The third is ‘I Can’, which means the ability to communicate and solve problems, and to express thoughts and feelings well.

In her presentation, the psychologist who is also member of organization committee in research and medical department shared seven tips to develop mental resilience during pandemic.

7 tips to develop mental resilience during a pandemic:

1. Have a good self-efficacy
Believe that a person has an ability to overcome difficult situations, by seeing the strengths he/she has.

2. Practice your emotional regulations
Practice to stay calm and keep the mind focused, even under stressful conditions.

3. Impulse Controls
Recognize your inner desires and drives, and learn to control those desires before making decisions.

4. Optimistic
Think and have positive perspectives in any situations.

5. Be Empathetic
Be quickly responsive in responding to other people’s conditions.

6. Strengthen Relationships
Increase closeness and relations with family, friends and community by joining online meetings.

7. Learn to Adapt
Accept the changes that occur as part of life.

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