The Effect of Corona on Mental Health
It is no surprise to anyone that global stress levels have accelerated significantly since the dawn of the Covid-19 pandemic. Things like self-isolation, grief, unemployment, and financial insecurity are difficult to manage – especially when you are alone.
Aside from personal worries and anxieties, there are greater economic and social issues that have been brought to the surface that may also be triggers for feelings of distress. The recent 2008 recession is being felt by many countries around the world, and people everywhere are reeling from the loss.
One way that we can observe the impact of these stressors is in the number of people reporting the development of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and suicide. For example, a tracking poll from July 2020 reports that adults are finding it harder to eat, sleep, and safely control substance and alcohol consumption.
How Does Current Mental Health Compare to Pre-Pandemic Mental Health?
Poor mental health is something that certainly pre-dates the Covid-19 pandemic, but recent studies suggest that rates have increased since the initial lockdowns were put into place and continued self-isolation occurs around the world.
The NHIS performed a survey on adults reporting depressive and/or anxiety disorders both before and after the pandemic, and the results are as follows:
- January-June 2019: 11.0%
- January 2021: 41%
Who is Most Vulnerable?
The mental health of young adults has perhaps taken a particular hit through the closing of universities, loss of income, and separation from families. However, young adults are more likely than their seniors to report feelings of anxiety, depression, and substance use, so it is a problem that is difficult to measure.
If you are a person of color, you are 46% more likely to report feelings of anxiety or depression during a pandemic in addition to having less access to effective healthcare. Women with children are also at high risk, with a 49% stronger chance of reporting poor mental health than men with children.
Essential workers are also put in a dangerous position for potential depression or anxiety development as they have a higher chance of contracting the virus than non-essential workers.
How Can We Minimize Stress and Depression?
There are many healthy and accessible ways to cope with high stress or anxiety levels during a pandemic.
- Take breaks from the news. Constantly scouring news channels for updates on the pandemic may keep you informed, but it will do your mental health no favours.
- Talk to family and friends. Connecting with the people you love can be incredibly soothing and calming in moments of distress – don’t be afraid to lean on those who care about you for support. You can even visit Australian slots online virtually and connect with others.
- Avoid excessive substance or alcohol use. It can be tempting to reach for the comfort of addictions when you are feeling stressed, but excessive use can do more damage than good if you aren’t able to control it.
If you are struggling to keep your mind afloat, reach out to your local community and seek the help you need – support is never too far away.