In the year after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a pandemic, billions of lives have been disrupted throughout the world. An increase in reports of anxiety, depression, and distress has prompted experts to warn about mental health in covid-19.
The coronavirus pandemic is spreading throughout the world rapidly. It is inducing significant fear, anxiety, and concern in the general public and specific groups such as older adults, caregivers, and those with underlying health conditions.
To date, the main psychological impact on public mental health has been increased levels of anxiety. But, as new measures and effects are introduced -especially quarantine and its impact on many people’s usual activities, habits, or livelihoods, are expected to rise, as are levels of loneliness, despair, destructive alcohol and drug use, and self-harm or suicidal behavior.
As part of its public health response, the WHO worked with partners to create a set of new resources on mental health in covid-19 and psychosocial support aspects.
In a survey of 1210 people from 194 cities in China conducted in January and February 2020, 54 percent said the COVID-19 outbreak had a moderate or severe psychological impact. 29 percent said they had moderate to severe anxiety symptoms. And 17 percent said they had moderate to severe depressive symptoms.
Mental health: What is it?
The concept of mental health has evolved through the years. It indicates a condition of well-being in which the individual can:
- Complete himself with his skills
- Overcome the obstacles of daily life
- Manage with stress while making a positive contribution to his community
Good mental health influences our feelings and emotions. And it may have an impact on our lifestyle and even our work-life balance. This observation is especially clear given the crisis that has paralyzed the country for over a year. The Covid-19 pandemic has already forced many people to explore new ways of working in which isolation and hyperconnectivity are a part of their everyday lives.
Those who once had a real work dynamic punctuated by social links and a team spirit are now subject to insecurity and questioning about their future. As a result, pathologies might occur when mental health deteriorates. Disorders that impact how individuals feel, such as depression or anxiety disorders, are among the most common mental illnesses.
Mental health in COVID-19: How has it affected people?
1. Fear of getting sick
Whether you are concerned about yourself, your family, friends, or coworkers, there is no escaping the risk of becoming infected with the COVID-19 virus. Ongoing fear is a symptom of anxiety. It affects your appetite, causes sleep issues. Also, it has a significant impact on your ability to cope in everyday life.
Fear also leads to other causes of stress by fueling behaviors such as grocery hoarding. You may or may not feel the need to hoard. But you will undoubtedly experience the frustration of not finding the essential items you require at the store.
2. The emotional fallout of social distancing
Staying at home might relieve some of your fears about becoming ill. But isolation has its own drawbacks. Social distance separates you from the love and support of friends and family. This is extremely difficult and depressing. Even if you are at home with family, social isolation can cause loneliness, depression, and worry. You may also find that spending all day, every day with your family, no matter how much you love them, is stressful and challenging.
3. Worry about your finances
You’re worried about your money if you’re one of the millions who can’t go to work. Even if you have a nest egg to fall back on, the uncertainty of when you’ll be able to return to work or if your job will still be accessible is an overwhelming stressor that leads to problems of mental health in covid-19.
4. Grief due to loss
Many people have suffered or will soon feel great sadness due to the unexpected death of friends and relatives. However, sadness is a natural reaction to loss. So the COVID-19 pandemic may also cause sadness at the loss of your work or health.
Steps to reduce the negative impact on your mental health in covid-19
Recognizing your feelings can help to reduce their overall influence on your mental health. Reassuring yourself and your family that worry, despair, and sadness are natural feelings will help you be more resilient. You will also make it through this difficult period.
7 tips to help you maintain your mental health in covid-19:
- Limit the news. Sure, you need to be aware of what is going on in the world. But spending too much time listening to COVID-19 news only increases your stress, worry, and sadness.
- Stay active. Exercise is important for stress relief and maintaining physical, mental, and emotional health. Dance at home, go for a regular walk (while staying socially isolated), or learn yoga.
- Create and stick to a routine. Creating and sticking to a daily schedule provides structure and a feeling of normalcy for you. This may help reduce stress.
- Use technology to connect. Schedule times to talk with family and friends, whether face-to-face via videoconferencing, through chat on social media, or over the phone. Think outside the box. For example, you can use a videoconference to arrange a dinner party or a book club.
- Make time to play. Whether you and your family like board games, video games, or watching movies, set aside time each night to play.
- Maintain your health. The foods you consume have an impact on both your mental and physical health. So make sure your meals are healthy. A good night’s sleep is also essential for your mental health.
- Seek help. If you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health issue, it’s essential that you stick to your treatment program. You may safely refill your prescriptions in your pharmacy’s drive-through or talk home delivery with your pharmacist.
Anyone dealing with overwhelming mental health issues may use telehealth to communicate with physicians and psychiatrists from the comfort of their own home. They may also provide personalized repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation (PrTMS). It is a proven therapy that quickly alleviates anxiety, depression, and tension. Mental health services, including PrTMS, are essential for healthy mental health in covid-19.
The Bottom Line
Evidence shows that COVID-19 has led to a significant increase in the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in the general population who do not have a history of mental disease.
To guarantee a high-quality yet safe service for patients and caregivers, mental health services must continually and quickly adapt to unpredictable and changing pandemic demands. Service and staff wellness and support in all areas of mental health must remain a priority to guarantee that we have the resources to effectively treat patients and caregivers. Mental health services that take proactive, preventive, and supportive steps will be in the greatest position to provide the greatest service to patients and caregivers while decreasing and managing the pandemic’s negative effects on health care employees and other parts of the mental health service.