Did you know that anxiety and depression cases soared in 2020? As a result of the Covid19 pandemic and mental health, there were an estimated 76 million more cases of anxiety and 53 million cases of major depressive disorder than expected.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our lives. As a result, many of us are confronted with difficulties that can be stressful, overwhelming, and elicit strong emotions in both adults and children. Public health interventions, such as social distancing, are necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19, but they can make us feel lonely and isolated and increase anxiety and stress.
Stress is a natural and expected reaction to any health crisis, but stress skyrockets when the problem is unusual in your life, and everyone is at risk. Even if the origin of your stress is obvious, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, defining what’s driving your emotions can help you better understand the issues. It’s easier to be kind to yourself and others when you’re at the limit of your emotional tolerance.
COVID-19 has had a long-term impact on the world, our families, and our mental health. Therefore, we investigate the link between COVID and mental health.
What Is Coronavirus, or COVID-19?
SARS-CoV-2, a new type of coronavirus, began making ill with flu-like symptoms at the end of 2019. The illness is known as coronavirus disease-19, or COVID-19 for short. The virus is easily transmitted and has infected people all over the world.
COVID-19 vaccinations became available in late 2020 and early 2021. They are safe and effective, and they are recommended for use by people aged 12 and up. They’re also likely to be approved for use in younger children soon. As soon as they become eligible, everyone should take advantage of the opportunity to be protected.
What Is a Pandemic?
When a disease spreads rapidly through a community or other geographically constrained area, it is referred to as an epidemic. A pandemic is defined as a disease that has spread to several countries or all over the world at the same time.
COVID-19 has spread around the world and has been declared a pandemic. There have been instances when much more people have become contaminated than at other times. Surges and waves are the terms used to describe these events.
Because the virus is easily spread, outbreaks are more likely to occur when large groups of individuals assemble and do not use masks or are not adequately vaccinated. Also more likely is the virus’s transformation into a more infectious form, such as the Delta variant, which generates more infections and spreads quicker than the initial virus.
What Are the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Symptoms, and How Does It Spread?
Infection can induce a variety of symptoms. Most frequent are temperature, cough, breathing problems, and gastrointestinal symptoms like stomach ache, nauseousness, vomiting, and diarrhea. Other concerns include headaches, body aches, loss of smell and taste, and common cold symptoms. The infection can be more dangerous in some persons. And some people have no sensations at all.
COVID-19 can be spread even if no symptoms are present. Viruses are spread through the air when infected people breathe, cough or sneeze. These can be inhaled or land in someone’s mouth, nose, or even eyes.
The tiniest droplets can stay in the air for hours and migrate on air currents. The danger of spread appears higher when people are close together, inside, and when the indoor area is inadequately ventilated.
People may also become infected if they contact a droplet on a surface and then touch themselves. However, this form of spread is much less common.
Wearing masks is still an effective way to help avoid the spread of the disease. In public areas, everyone over the age of two should wear a mask. Vaccinated people should also wear masks indoors.
Unvaccinated persons should always wear a mask indoors in public areas and crowded places. This is regardless of the infection rate in that area. In general, it’s best to avoid crowded spaces and indoor spaces that are not well ventilated.
Covid and Mental Health
It’s been just over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the United States. A year full of ‘new’ things like:
Looking back to March of last year, we knew it would be not easy. But we had no idea how difficult it would be. And we had no idea that the COVID-19 challenge would last this long.
While addressing a crisis like the COVID-19 epidemic, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and anxious. Focusing on how to halt the spread of the virus is critical for our physical health, but establishing ways to control our mental health is equally crucial.
We experience increased sensations, such as:
We might also have a sense of constraint or be apprehensive about growing social stigma or xenophobia. We also sense concern about the future or fear of being alone amidst fast-shifting routines and social plans.
While feeling scared is normal and understandable, COVID-19 has affected ALL of us in various ways, but some of us are more affected mentally than others.
Evidence of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health is now growing, and we see some distinct dimensions of this impact:
Fear of Catching the Virus
There is an inherent fear of getting infected by COVID-19 and the contagion of this fear. Unfortunately, as the number of cases of COVID-19 continues to rise, a pandemic of fear is spreading alongside it.
Whether you are concerned about yourself, your family, friends, or coworkers, there is no escaping the fear of becoming infected with the COVID-19 virus. Ongoing fear is a symptom of anxiety, which affects your appetite, causes sleep issues, and significantly impacts your ability to cope with daily life.
There is much media hype regarding:
The fear of getting infected with the virus spreads quicker than the dangerous yet invisible virus. This is due to modern media’s global reach and real-time nature. When you see or hear someone else who is afraid, you become so scared, even if you don’t know what is causing the other person’s fear.
Stigma Relating to COVID-19
The global spread of COVID-19 has coincided with a disturbing surge in stigma. COVID-19 stigma against infected or linked groups of people includes the following:
This stigmatization trend has been fueled by unfair treatment, political hyperbole, and mistrust. There is a rich history of colonial connections and historical tensions. The long-term stigma associated with COVID-19 exists, aimed both at specific communities within countries. Also, at countries and regions battling to control COVID-19.
Stigma manifests itself in a variety of ways across borders. People of Chinese origin, for example, have been targeted. It’s a fact that the stigma of COVID-19 threatens to divide humanity further.
Pandemic apprehension fuels preconceptions that aren’t always accurate. The longer the pandemic lasts, the more people believe they are at risk.
COVID-19 stigma stifles communal kinship and widens national and international divides. As a result, the world will become increasingly volatile and combative. Yet, battling stigma will also assist us in meeting global human rights standards.
The Effects of People Who Have Recovered From COVID-19
It is thought that an estimated one in every three people healing from COVID-19 will encounter physiological or emotional difficulties as a result of their infections.
Recovery from COVID can take several weeks or even months for some people. And, for some people, the physical, mental, and emotional symptoms can last much longer, and they can affect someone’s mental health in the same way that any long-term, debilitating disease can. When we do not recover within the expected time frame, we can become frustrated, confused, and fearful.
When combined with an inability to work, socialize, or exercise, these factors can have a considerable and tragic effect on mental well-being. Even the physical symptoms, such as the inability to breathe, can be traumatic.
The Distress Caused By COVID-19 Lockdowns
The distress caused by COVID-19 containment measures such as lockdowns and school shutdowns is a genuine issue. For example, let’s look at some studies:
According to one study, 13.6 % of adults in the United States reported symptoms of severe psychological distress in April 2020, up from 3.9 % in 2018.
Long-Term Mental Health After COVID-19
While most people are dealing with more mental health issues than usual during the pandemic, the anxiety and stress associated with a Covid diagnosis are substantial, even for those who recover.
Research has shown that people afflicted with Covid were more likely to suffer from a mental health issue than people dealing with other health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those recovering from Covid-19, for example, were twice as likely as those recovering from the flu to suffer from a mental health disorder.
Almost 20% of Covid recovered people were diagnosed with a mental condition within three months of their illness. Researchers have argued that the data demonstrate the critical importance of mental health treatments for the more significant number of persons suffering from symptoms.
The Economic Downturn Due to COVID-19
A lengthy history of research dating back to the Great Depression shows that psychological and social stress levels rise during economic downturns. The coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic’s combined health and economic shocks have resulted in a massive mental health crisis. More than 12 million Americans found themselves unemployed, and over 5 million more gave up looking for work.
Loss of employment can lower living standards and increase income insecurity, wreaking havoc on the mental health of unemployed workers and their families. As a result, about one-third of working-age adults in the United States have difficulty meeting their basic living expenses. In addition, this one-third of the population has depression and anxiety disorder symptoms, which is more than quadruple the percentage reported in the most recent available data.
Another well-regarded survey released in June found that more than one in every ten U.S. adults had thoughts of suicide in the previous 30 days. This number was more than double the figure reported in 2019. Unfortunately, confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the US continue to rise, with no end in sight to the pandemic.
Staying at home might alleviate some of your concerns about becoming ill, but isolation has its own set of consequences as well. Social distancing isolates you from the support and comfort of friends and family, which can be extremely difficult and sad to deal with.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re at home with your family; the reality of social exclusion can still result in feelings of loneliness, depression, and worry. Another possibility is that spending all day, every day with your family, is stressful and challenging, no matter how much you care for them.
Dealing With Loss and Grieving Due to COVID-19
Coping with a loss is difficult, but it’s even more difficult with the loss during the COVID era. Often, death due to the coronavirus is unexpected, and families cannot be by their loved one’s side due to restrictions designed to prevent infection spread. The separation makes the grief and sadness worse.
The absence of traditional rituals such as commemorations and funeral services that helps family say their goodbyes adds to the emotional toll of losing a loved one to the coronavirus.
Extreme social isolation and having too much time to think about the loss can play on your mind and cause mental health issues. Likewise, not getting closure and having this time on your hands due to restrictions, specific natural thoughts, feelings, or behaviors can thwart your healing during acute grief if they take up too much mental space.
In addition to introducing new stressors, the pandemic has weakened many coping mechanisms that people usually employ to deal with stress. For example, staying in touch with friends and family and getting daily outdoor exercise were the most common coping mechanisms during the lockdown.
Many have lost employment or been laid off, and some have been unable to see friends or relatives. Moreover, these limitations exist: certain groups cannot access outdoors, and others cannot stay connected digitally to friends and family. All this increases the risk of the pandemic growing mental health inequities.
Steps For Coping With Your Mental Health During COVID-19
Many people are suffering from depression and anxiety as we speak. You are not alone in questioning what you can do to feel better. These helpful hints may help you cope.
Maintaining a six-foot distance between yourself and others is critical for easing the spread of COVID-19. But one thing you don’t want to do during the pandemic is to isolate yourself from other people, emotionally speaking.
It is critical to keep in touch with friends and family daily. You can reach them by phone, text, or email. Use social media to stay in touch. You can use your smartphone to video chat. Visit the outdoors from afar, all the while using face masks.
It’s also critical to reach out to those in need. Maybe your elderly neighbor can’t leave the house? Send them a meal or a book with a kind note.
Take Time Off From the Media
Of course, it’s critical to stay informed. However, it is easy to get caught up when the information is negative. Repeatedly hearing about the pandemic can lead to anxiety and depression.
Take a break from watching the news now and then. Don’t read anything about what’s going on, not even on social media.
Maintain Good Habits
While it may be tempting to reach for comfort food, it is critical to maintaining a healthy diet.
It’s also beneficial to keep exercising. Take a walk. Look for free workout videos on sites like YouTube. Purchase some new workout equipment or gadgets for your home gym that you will enjoy using.
It’s also critical to get a good night’s sleep. Maintaining your healthier lifestyle will make you feel better in general.
Going outside can improve your mood, whether the weather is warm or you need to dress warmly against colder temperatures. So take a seat on your porch. Plant those deck container gardens you’ve always wanted. Take a walk through a nearby park’s trails. If outdoor space is packed and you feel uneasy, follow your instincts and find a different location.
While the epidemic is serious, you can still have fun.
Take a day for mental health and take a look at your daily living skills. Plan a family game night. Use your outdoor space to watch a show on your laptop, play puzzles, or get a pedicure or manicure.
Changing your routine or going outside can help break up the monotony. Take up that long-pending home project. Having fun is especially vital if you have children. They, too, feel the effects of all these enormous changes.
Control What You Can
Yes, you are worried about getting sick. However, a game plan can help reduce nervousness.
Every time you wash your hands, wash them for 20 seconds. Wear a mask out and about. If you get COVID-19 symptoms, call your doctor. Controlling what you do will help minimize stress.
These recommendations are significant if you have a pre-existing mental condition. If you can, keep your visits with your therapist or doctor. If you aren’t feeling well, inquire about video appointments.
Looking To the Future
It’s a fact that we still don’t know much about how COVID-19 affects people’s mental health, and we will continue to learn more. As a result, it will be several years before we have a clearer picture of the full impact that this pandemic has had on mental health.
Given that many countries are still on lockdown and are dealing with increasing cases, it isn’t easy to be optimistic about the future.
But there is still hope. We will get through this global crisis if we remain open-minded. Open study and open data have already resulted in developing a vaccine in record time, saving countless lives. If there was ever a case to be made about the significance of sharing knowledge to the general public, this is it.
We’ll get through it, and we’ll come out the other side of the coronavirus pandemic unscathed. However, when we do, our world will be different!
Stay Positive and Take That First Step Towards First Light Recovery
There is no getting around the reality that the COVID-19 pandemic is hugely distressing for everyone involved with it. It’s only reasonable to be unhappy about what’s going on in the world at this moment, given the remarkable events that have occurred.
Are you, a relative or friend suffering from mental health or experiencing suicidal thoughts? Contact us in San Juan Capistrano, and our team will welcome you with compassion and understanding to help you overcome your mental issues!
- Covid Crisis Dramatically Worsened Global Mental Health, Study Finds. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/08/covid-crisis-dramatically-worsened-global-mental-health-study-finds
- Stigma Related To COVID-19 Threatens To Divide Humanity Further. British Medical Journal. https://blogs.bmj.com/bmjgh/2021/08/29/stigma-related-to-covid-19/
- Early Psychological Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic in Brazil: A National Survey. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC7565796/
- Almost 20% of COVID-19 Patients Receive Psychiatric Diagnosis Within 90 Days. University of Oxford Department of Psychiatry. https://www.psych.ox.ac.uk/news/20-of-covid-19-patients-receive-psychiatric-diagnosis-within-90-days
- How to Cope With Grief Amid COVID-19. New York-Presbyterian. https://healthmatters.nyp.org/how-to-cope-with-grief-amid-covid-19/
Social Distancing and Its Effects On Mental Health