[NOTICE] Closure of Clinic
March 18, 2020
Practicing Gratitude During a Pandemic
April 3, 2020

Combating Fake News for Your Mental Health

It’s the second week of the RMO, and we hope everyone is coping well. Today, let’s talk about something that many of us have encountered, especially if we have access to the internet.

Today, let’s talk about fake news.

We’re exposed to so many fake news online, especially to chain messages on your family or friend WhatsApp group chats. Some infectious disease “expert” asking you to put onions on your front door so the virus would not come into the house? Drinking warm water to “flush” the virus down your throat and the virus will dissolve in your stomach acid? Yes, those.

Worse, some of these messages are dramatically emphasising on the severity of the issue. While this situation is serious, some of these messages are solely bent on catastrophizing the problem and causing unnecessary panic in the public. Some of you may remember the viral messages of governments imposing a nationwide lockdown. This message has made such a huge detrimental effect in the public which has caused incidences of panic buying in grocery stores that put more people at risk of getting infected due to the mass gatherings in supermarkets. These fake messages are doing nothing but feed on our panic and desperate need to gain a sense of control. In the end, our rational behaviour of maintaining social distancing is overruled by the need to purchase toilet paper in quantities enough to survive an apocalyptic lockdown.

But we are here to remind everybody that we will always have control over our situation and we can do something about this. And for us who are at home, we can fight the disease in a non-direct way – we can control the spread of fake news.

How do we know what’s real and what’s not online?

Always check for the source of the message. Mainstream news portals are a good place to start in order to receive credible information on the current situation of our surroundings. If a message claims to be advice from a “renowned infectious disease expert”, look up the person online or check these claims online in scientific journals. You can also check with the Ministry of Health and real medical professionals on the credibility of “rubbing tiger balm on your nose to scare the virus away”. If you feel like you are still unsure of the credibility of a certain piece of information, just refrain from sharing it!

I’m receiving all this news and know they are fake and yet, I’m still feeling anxious and uneasy. What can I do about it?

Put the news away for a while, and talk about your worries with someone in real life. Confide in someone you trust with what you’re feeling at the moment. Emotional and physical support does wonders for your mental health because it helps you to feel less alone, knowing that we’re all in this together.

While we are practicing social distancing to stop the spread of the virus, let us also socially distance ourselves from fake news to stop its spread.

#mentalhealth #fakenews #responsiblenetizen

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