The outbreak of Covid-19 has caused many changes in our societies. One of the consequences has been an increase in psychological stress. The article today will highlight some effects of the coronavirus pandemic on our mental health.
The fears and impact of the virus on health has been and still on the rise, there are concerns by family members to keep away from their elderly and vulnerable relatives to protect them from catching the virus. This has caused a widespread sense of isolation due to a decrease in social interactions.
The economic impact is also another consequence. Lots of companies are shrinking on their workforce and making people redundant, and this uncertainty have caused distress to millions of people around the world.
Most nations have curtailed the spread of COVID-19 through measures such as lockdowns, social distancing, and voluntary self-isolation. This has had consequences on some people’s mental health, and the cases of certain disorders have increased, and others worsened.
Following on from the research and feedback from previous pandemics, it is known that such circumstances are likely to increase stress levels and have adverse psychiatric effects.
A recent survey by Mental Health Research Canada indicated that mental health has been severely affected during the pandemic, and there has been a significant increase in rates of anxiety and depression.
In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned in mid-May 2020 that the coronavirus crisis and its consequences would affect the mental health of many people.
The organisation explained that there could be an increase in suicides and other mental disorders and called on governments not to neglect psychological care.
The WHO detected an increase in distress of 35% in China, 60% in Brazil, and 40% in the United States, three of the countries most affected by the pandemic.
Covid-19 has mostly affected the frontline professionals in both medical and non-medical roles such as teaching, grocery supply, police, and the postal services etc. Some of these workers were very afraid to take the virus home.
Grieving families have also been infected by the coronavirus especially those who have not been able to say goodbye to their deceased loved ones and have been left emotionally scarred and sad.
Other people who have had or will have serious financial difficulties in the coming months will also be left in a deep state of despair. The quarantine has caused many people to lose their jobs. This situation has aggravated social inequalities and poverty.
Individuals with poor mental health prior to the coronavirus outbreak are at significant risk for a relapse. The children and adolescents, who were used to going outside and away from abusive relationships, will suffer more and may also have high rates of depression and anxiety.
A study has found that 22.6% of students in Hubei, the Chinese province where the coronavirus outbreak originated, have suffered from depressive symptoms. This is higher than the average for primary schools in the rest of China.
During our confinement, we have spent many hours locked up at home and unable to see our family and friends.
Little by little, as the strict quarantine is being lifted while hoping we do not get another wave of the virus, there are people who now refuse to go out on the street. This fear is known as “cabin syndrome. ” It is important to specify that it is not a pathology as such.
This syndrome implies the fear of contacting other people outside the home, the fear of carrying out activities that were previously a daily routine such as walking, going to work outside the home, traveling by public transport, interacting with other known people.
The people who spent their confinement alone are likely to develop the “cabin syndrome” more. Not having any physical or close contact with another person may have created a form of rejection of what is now exceptional for them: contact with others is frightening.
To overcome this fear, it is recommended to gradually leave home and learn to recognise the needs of each other and oneself. It is also advisable to follow all safety protocols: social distancing guidelines, wash our hands frequently, adhere to schedules, and wear a mask, so that we have a greater sense of security.
We are slowly getting into the winter months which will make things even more difficult for us all and there is an increase fear of coming out of lockdown with a chronic illness. It is imperative for us to protect ourselves and others to avoid a second full and complete lockdown.
Hope this post on the effects of coronavirus pandemic on our mental health will encourage us to keep in touch with our family and friends even more within the next few months. Also, please reach out and ask for help is you are struggling.
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