GD Topic – Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health October 16, 2021
GD Topic – Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health
- A pandemic is not just a medical phenomenon; it affects individuals and society and causes disruption, anxiety, stress, stigma, and xenophobia. The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession have negatively affected many people’s mental health and created new barriers for people already suffering from mental illness and substance use disorders.
- Research from prior economic downturns shows that job loss is associated with increased depression, anxiety, distress, and low self-esteem and may lead to higher rates of substance use disorder and suicide. During the pandemic, adults in households with job loss or lower incomes report higher rates of symptoms of mental illness than those without job or income loss.
- Children, away from their school, friends, and colleagues, staying at home can have many questions about the outbreak and they look toward their parents or caregivers to get the answer. Not all children and parents respond to stress in the same way. Kids can experience anxiety, distress, social isolation, and an abusive environment that can have short‐ or long‐term effects on their mental health.
- Physical distancing due to the COVID‐19 outbreak can have drastic negative effects on the mental health of the elderly and disabled individuals. Physical isolation at home among family members can put the elderly and disabled person at serious mental health risk. It can cause anxiety, distress, and induce a traumatic situation for them. Elderly people depend on young ones for their daily needs, and self‐isolation can critically damage a family system.
- Doctors, nurses, and paramedics working as a front‐line force to fight the COVID‐19 outbreak may be more susceptible to develop mental health symptoms. Fear of catching a disease, long working hours, unavailability of protective gear and supplies, patient load, unavailability of effective COVID‐19 medication, death of their colleagues after exposure to COVID‐19, social distancing and isolation from their family and friends, and the dire situation of their patients may take a negative toll of the mental health of health workers.
- Spending time with family members including children and elderly people, involvement in different healthy exercises and sports activities, following a schedule/routine, and taking a break from traditional and social media can all help to overcome mental health issues.
- Public awareness campaigns focusing on the maintenance of mental health in the prevailing situation are urgently needed.