It has been over a year since the novel coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, has plagued the world around us. We have heard the stories, or maybe even seen first hand through personal experience or loved ones, the physical symptoms that this virus can cause. But what about its mental toll? Taking care of mental health is essential for overall health and wellbeing. During such turbulent times, mental health is more important now than ever. Learn steps you can take to cope.
How the Coronavirus Pandemic Can Effect Your Mental Health
Whether you have been diagnosed with coronavirus or not, the precautions, social isolation, and fatigue cause the perfect storm. What should you look out for? On this page, we will discuss the most common mental health symptoms that have been affecting millions of America since the epidemic started.
Depression already affects over 16 million people in the United States. Since coronavirus and lockdown measures have been put in place, this number has increased rapidly over the last year. For the more at-risk groups of people, such as the elderly, complete isolation for months at a time had to be implemented. Weekly visits from the family in most care facilities had to be ceased, causing feelings of such loneliness and sadness. Additionally, if those also suffered from dementia or Alzheimers, the ability to keep these patients grounded and remembering has become more challenging for many people. Phone calls and window visits are difficult and not as effective for those with memory loss and hearing issues.
For children and teens, who have been isolated from friends, sports teams, and other social circles have also faced depressive symptoms since the virus has begun. Virtual learning and lack of socialization have caused many children to lose motivation and engage in excessive pastimes such as television and video games. In between, the average adult rates for depression have also increased due to isolation and overall fatigue. Those who have lost jobs, loved ones, social support, and those who already struggled with mental disorders prior to the pandemic become at higher risk for depressive episodes.
Anxiety affects millions of people a year ranging from mild to debilitating. Since the coronavirus hit, fear and worry have been on most peoples’ minds. If you haven’t contracted the coronavirus yet, you may fear getting it and how your body will respond. You may have seen friends or family members go through it and worry about their pain. You may have even lost loved ones to this virus. Perhaps you have lost your job and now struggle with making ends meet. Perhaps you work in the public, worried about the interaction of others. The uncertainty alone of how long this will virus will last and if we will ever be able to return to normal is enough to cause many people anxiety. However, anxiety is a normal response to an abnormal situation.
It has been reported that acute psychosis is a rare symptom for some who get the coronavirus. Psychosis is described as anything that alters a person’s ability to distinguish between what is real and what is not. This can be caused by the high fevers some experience or from the symptom itself. Those who have some sort of psychiatric history are more at risk for developing these symptoms; however, there have been cases reported for people that had acute psychosis without any psychiatric history.
Take Care of Your Mental Health
Mental health disturbances should be treated just as seriously as physical health issues. If you or a loved one are experienced an increase in depression, anxiety, or other mental disturbances, please seek medical attention from your healthcare advisor. If you or someone you know are experiencing severe hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, feelings of no longer wanting to be alive, or active suicidal intent with a plan, seek emergency care immediately. There is help available at your nearest emergency department. The suicide hotline provides support 24/7 all year long. They can be reached at 800-273-8255. It is okay to not be okay, and it is okay to reach out for help.
Available Resources for People in Need of Immediate Assistance:
Disaster Distress Helpline (SAMHSA)
Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746
Crisis Textline (Link)
Text TALK to 741741
Veterans Crisis Line (VA)
Call 800-273-8255 or text 838255