Tips for Caregivers : Coronavirus

In The News - The Media’s Effects on Caregiver Mental Health

By: Maria Tariq

During the COVID-19 pandemic, caregivers dealt with unique challenges on top of their existing responsibilities. Safety concerns arose and took a toll. Caregiver burnout, a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion, became much more common.

As a caregiver, prioritizing your mental health and self care is essential. We acknowledge the additional strain that current political and social events can exert on mental health. Whether or not caregivers are affected personally, media coverage of negative events can take a toll. One Medical, a membership-based primary care practice, addresses the “shock and awe” approach: “Most media outlets end up reporting on crises, disasters, or other stories that are likely to shock and draw in…Our brain responds to this stressful or negative news as a threat…Recurrent exposure to this stress can impact both our physical and mental health and cause symptoms like headache, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and trouble sleeping.”

By focusing on what can be controlled, caregivers can reduce stress and make room for self care. You can curate your news consumption by:

  1. reducing the amount of time on the news
  2. sticking to trusted sources
  3. avoiding news before bed
  4. replacing news with a more fulfilling hobby or time with loved ones

One way to understand and learn to adopt mental health practices is to consult a therapist. Psychology Today’s “Find a Therapist” platform is a helpful tool to kick-start your search for an in-person or teletherapy session. Telehealth has become more common and available, which can be ideal for caregivers who can find it difficult to leave their loved ones at home for an extended period of time. As a South Asian-oriented organization, our team at Posana recognizes that cultural competence is important when searching for a therapist or counselor. Psychology Today accommodates this with filters for ethnicity.

Constant exposure to media in many forms can have harmful effects. As a caregiver, it’s especially important to recognize how this stress can affect you. By taking time to address this issue, you and your loved ones will benefit.

Posana Health is a nonprofit organization that aims to redefine the South Asian caregiver experience to bridge caregiving and self-care. We assess and educate about the signs and symptoms of caregiver burden; provide and direct caregivers to a variety of resources; and connect our community of caregivers and their support systems. Visit our website to learn more.


Published: 02/12/2021