Coronavirus Pandemic's Impact On Mental Health Alarms Experts

News & Politics
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Damir Mujezinovic

The coronavirus pandemic has forced millions around the world to self-isolate, maintain social distance, and wear marks.

Though public health measures have helped slow down the spread of COVID-19, isolation and constant fear have had an impact on many people's mental health and overall well being.

With the new, highly-contagious Delta variant spreading rapidly across the world, governments may have to impose stricter policies and resort to issuing lockdown orders once again.

What do experts have to say about the implications of COVID-19 for mental health? Read below.

COVID-19 & Mental Health

According to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation, about four in 10 American adults have reported symptoms of anxiety and depression amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The worry and stress over COVID-19 have also led to an increase in substance abuse and alcohol consumption, while at the same time worsening chronic conditions in people with mental health issues.

Young adults appear to be more vulnerable as they are more likely than older adults to report symptoms of anxiety and depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.

Economic Insecurity

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating effect on the economy, leading to nearly unprecedented job loss and economic insecurity.

This, too, has pushed the world into what some call a mental health crisis.

The Kaiser Family Foundation's research shows that adults experiencing job loss and economic difficulty amid the pandemic have consistently reported higher rates of symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorder.

Essential workers, such as delivery personnel and healthcare providers, have shown a higher rate of poor mental outcomes than other workers throughout the pandemic.

Keeping Your Mental Health In Check

How would one keep their mental health in check amid the COVID-19 pandemic?

According to expert Abbie Zimmerman, "Having space to explore these thoughts and feelings can help you to discover new ways of coping and improving your overall mental health."

Zimmerman, who is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), explained to Sqandal why self-care and mindfulness are key.

"By adding a layer of mindfulness to self-care, you can make a positive experience and quadruple its impact," she said.

"Finding space either with a trusted friend, loved one, with a professional or even a journal to explore how the pandemic has impacted you, can be a very useful tool."

Media Exposure

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Limiting the consumption of coronavirus-related media content could also help one preserve their mental health, according to research.

A 2020 study from the University of California, Irvine examined the effect of media consumption on one's state of mind, finding that consuming content related to COVID-19 was a strong predictor in the development of acute anxiety and depression.

Extensive exposure to press coverage of the pandemic can "be overwhelming and lead to more stress, worry and perceived risks," according to the study.