Year 2020
February 2020


Pearlene Ng

14 February 2020

Singapore authorities raised the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) to orange on 07 February 2020. Since then, the number of cases infected through community transmission in Singapore has exceeded the number of imported cases. COVID-19 is indeed a health issue that should not be taken lightly.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). In Singapore, a multi-ministry task force was also convened to fight the virus. It is therefore understandable for individuals to be worried. This worry had been manifested in panic buying, long queues for masks, hand sanitizers and the extensive sharing of articles, news and anything related to the situation over messaging platforms and social media.

To fight the virus, it is important to maintain good hygiene and physical health. It is also important for all to maintain good mental health. Having both physical and psychological wellness will strengthen our preparedness and capability to protect ourselves and our loved ones so that we can fight the virus together and bounce back from this episode stronger.

With the various uncertainties and anxieties around COVID-19, here are seven tips to keep in mind to help us keep calm, and carry on with our lives:


  1. Keep Calm

Be mindful of your thoughts, if you find yourself starting to worry, re-focus your attention to things within your control. Beware of panic creeping in and resist the urge to engage in any reactive behaviours such as panic buying. Such responses can result in widespread panic and further heighten anxiety. You can also practise relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation and progressive muscle relaxation to keep calm when you find yourself starting to panic.


  1. Keep Informed

Stay informed with the latest news on the COVID-19 situation via reliable sources such as and WhatsApp service ( Guard against fake news. Always fact-check if you receive information from your friends or family to prevent unnecessary confusion and anxiety.


  1. Keep Things in Perspective

Although COVID-19 is infectious and people have died from the illness, there are many more who have recovered from the virus infection. Putting the numbers into perspective, even if one is infected, one is more likely to recover from the virus with the high recovery rate. Singapore as a nation has also gone through greater challenges before and we have proven that as a nation, we will be able to cope with the situation together.


  1. Keep Active

Being active makes you feel physically and psychologically better. Maintain your normal daily routine if possible. If you can’t go outdoors, you can keep yourself active indoors too. Engage in ACE activities that give you a sense of Achievement, Connection to others and Enjoyment such as making gifts for your loved ones.


  1. Keep Connected

Continue to maintain positive social connections with your loved ones. They are valuable outlets for sharing your worries and good sources of support. Stay connected through the phone or social media even if you cannot be physically together!


  1. Keep Healthy

Continue to practice good hygiene such as washing your hands frequently with soap, wear a mask if you are sick or recovering from an illness, and cover your mouth with a tissue paper when coughing or sneezing. Eat well, rest well and remember to keep psychologically well too.


  1. Keep Helplines in Sight

If the worries or anxiety get too much to handle, seek professional mental health support early. Viriya Community Services has a team of Counsellors and Clinical Psychologists to help you manage your anxiety during this trying period. Even if you must stay home as you are unwell, you can still access us via phone. Below are some numbers to keep in sight should you require further support:

  • Viriya Therapy Centre (Viriya Community Services) – Tel: 6256 1311
  • IMH Mental Health Helpline – Tel: 6389 2222
  • Samaritans of Singapore (SOS) – Tel: 1800 221 4444

With good personal hygiene and psychological wellness, we can rally together and fight the virus successfully.






Dr Pearlene Ng obtained her Doctor in Clinical Psychology from King’s College London, U.K. She has 7 years of experience working with clients with mental health difficulties and supervising junior psychologists. Prior to joining Viriya Therapy Centre, she worked as a Psychologist in the government sector. She is particularly interested in mood, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, and provides psychological assessments and interventions to clients with these difficulties. She provides evidence-based interventions such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and incorporates other approaches in her practice such as mindfulness, schema therapy, systemic therapy and motivational interviewing. She is also a trainer and speaker on mental health issues and has developed many training workshops. She has obtained her professional license as a Clinical Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) in the United Kingdom and is a Registered Psychologist in Singapore with the Singapore Psychological Society (SPS). She is passionate in the promotion of good mental health through upstream preventive work in the community.