COVID or coronavirus disease is a pandemic that has affected the lives of millions of people around the world and is likely to lead to mental health problems, and aggravated conditions with pre-existing mental health problems and disorders In 2017, one in five adults in the United States reported symptoms that met the criteria for a diagnosis of anxiety disorder, the most common mental illness. As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year, new and rapidly spreading variants have increased infections, and many countries have re-imposed lockouts. The pandemic also led to an economic recession that has affected many people’s mental health and created new barriers for people suffering from mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders.
According to a study, about 20 percent of COVID-19 patients develop mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, and dementia within three months of diagnosis. Researchers from the University of Oxford and NIHR (Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre) found that a psychiatric disorder was associated with a 65 percent higher risk of getting the virus within a year of positive testing for Covid-19. In COVID patients, the risk of initial diagnosis doubled when researchers analyzed the medical records of 6.9 million people in the United States, including 62,000 people diagnosed with the disease.
The devastation of the COVID 19 pandemic, with millions of deaths and unprecedented economic turmoil that caused limited social interaction, significantly impacted people’s mental health. The pandemic’s stress and social upheaval caused by the pandemic have exacerbated depression and anxiety, affecting many people, especially with pre-existing psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders.
Uncertain forecasts, the threat of severe shortages of resources for testing and treatment to protect healthcare workers and providers against infection, the imposition of unknown public health measures that affect personal freedom, large and growing financial losses, and conflicting messages of authorities are among the main stressors contributing to widespread emotional distress and increased risk of psychiatric disorders associated with COVID-19. Healthcare providers are particularly vulnerable to emotional distress during the current pandemic, owing to the risk of being exposed to the disease, concerns about contagion or care for their loved ones, lack of personal protective equipment, long hours and participation, and tense resource allocation decisions. Researchers are studying the causes and effects of stress and anxiety. The significant impact on people’s mental health could persist long after the Covid-19 pandemic subsides. If left untreated, pandemic-related psychiatric disorders can have serious long term social and financial consequences in all aspects of human life, including personal relationships, family dynamics, academic performance, and labor productivity— support for the mental health of healthcare workers and others essential to the working world. Support systems for healthcare services include recognizing severe challenges and their coping process, clear and frequent communication with leaders, adequate rest and peer support, evidence-based mental health resources, and screening and treatment for those who develop mental illnesses.
The pandemic has caused a lot of stress for many of us, and we are not at our best at the moment. It is understandable to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed when reading and hearing news about the continuation of the coronavirus outbreak. But it is normal to feel as vulnerable or overwhelmed as we read the news about it, especially if you have experienced trauma or mental health problems in the past, or if a long-term physical health condition shields you, or if you fall into one of the other groups that make you more vulnerable to the effects of the virus.
Talking with a licensed mental health professional via phone, video chat, or email can improve mental health and reduce stress in times of social isolation, which is encouraged. Remember that talking about things can help ease worries and anxieties. As you speak with a professional, you will feel stronger. You can also set example for your children. When you feel strong, it is easier to share the best of yourself with others. Whether you have young people at home during the pandemic or young adults working outside the home, your children will have their ups and downs. Being available to chat, connect and listen can help your children improve their mental well-being and set an example for healthy socializing.
Get in touch with other people via social media, email, or phone – these are all good ways to get closer to the people you care about. Start with simple activities that extend outside the house, such as a walk around your neighborhood.
In stressful times, being social and active can help you relax, improve your mood and manage your stress levels. Regular physical activity and exercise can help reduce anxiety and improve mood. If you are naturally inclined to consume alcohol and other pleasures to cope with stress, this is understandable but can be harmful in the long term.