Mental health during COVID-19 is one of the many worries brought about by the pandemic. Stress, anxiety and depression are the major causes of mental health disorders that have increased in prevalence in numerous countries around the world. This article discusses some things you can do.
Mental disorders do not discriminate and anyone can suffer from it. However, it has become increasingly common among a group of vulnerable individuals and these groups include patients of COVID-19, the ill and frontline health care professionals. Factors facilitated by COVID-19, are responsible for the decline in quality of life and increase of stress among these groups of individuals.
Factors That Promote Mental Health Disorders
Patients of COVID-19
A recent study carried out in China has revealed that a large number of COVID-19 patients suffer from extreme stress. The surviving patients of COVID-19 are usually faced with a variety of mental health disorders including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which usually affects a person long-term. Different experiences can affect people differently .For instance, with COVID-19 sufferers, there can be an increased fear of dying from the disease, anxiety due to discomfort, depression facilitated by isolation and quarantine and the feeling of loneliness. These experiences can have long term mental ramifications on the patient.
Health Care Professionals
Depression may set in among frontline health care professionals. Increasing death tolls due to the deadly virus, the anxiety they face due to fear of contracting the disease and the stress that comes with managing an epidemic bring extreme stress to the brink.
Fear and anxiety have also increased among the general population. The impact of the disease is felt by everyone in some way or another, including children, adolescents and adults.
COVID-19 greatly impacts the economy of nations too. The lockdown following the outbreak of the disease caused a drop in the GDP of nations. Many workers are being laid off from their jobs, people worry about job security and about making ends meet. This can increase stress levels for any adult.
Of course there’s also the fear of contracting the disease, the distress caused by the loss of interaction and or connection or even the loss of friends and family (or the fear of losing them. These have brought a lot of stress, worry and nervousness to people who find ways to cope – some healthy, others not so much.
Disruption of the normal health care systems caused by lockdowns and restriction has also caused stress to patients who are already dealing with chronic diseases, which could again lead to panic and suicidal tendencies.
Stress levels and anxiety are also elevated among the group of people who find themselves following the news constantly; rapid information change, death toll numbers and uncertainty of the future can be overwhelming.
Even children and adolescents can experience suicidal tendencies as a result of the lockdown. The loss of a guardian or a loved one can result in depression; the reduction in movement and social interaction can also affect psychology and affect their mental health.
People Turn To Psychedelic Microdosing To Cope During The Pandemic
The pandemic poses a difficult time for many people. An article on GlobalNews pointed out that in a bid to cope, some people resort to psychedelic microdosing.
Psychedelics are psychoactive substances which can cause changes in perception, hallucinations and can alter the mind. Psychedelic microdosing is the act of consuming low doses of psychedelic drugs in the bid to enhance emotional balance, increase creativity and boost physical energy.
Is it helpful to use psychedelics as a mental health coping mechanism during the pandemic? Well, according to the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition site, studies conducted in the 50s and 60s showed promising results that psychedelics might be helpful in treating mental health issues like depression, anxiety and PTSD. There has been a recent resurgence in the interest of scientists in psychedelics. Medical agencies have started giving green lights to test psychedelics in clinical trials.
Things You Can Do To Improve Your Mental Health During The Pandemic
There are some practical things you can do to improve the state of your mental health especially if you are finding it difficult to cope with the ongoing pandemic.
- Talk about how you feel: It can be overwhelming when you lose your job and at the same time, you are required to stay indoors. Try not to be too isolated from the world. Talk to friends, family over the phone or on video calls. Talking can help you express and stay connected.
- Eat healthy and drink sensibly: Just like every other part of your body, your brain needs nutrients to function properly. Opt for healthy foods to keep your mental and physical health nourished. Also, you might be tempted to stay home and drink away the stress or loneliness with alcohol, but, be wary of this as it can deepen the isolation and the feelings of being out of control.
- Ask for help: It is okay to ask for help if you find yourself falling into low moods repetitively. This is a tough time for anyone. Ask a trusted friend or family member or contact your local community center for additional resources. Help is always there.
- Try meditation and mindfulness: Meditation can help improve your state of mind. If you are a beginner, start with a few minutes each morning. Walking in nature can also be meditative, so can creating art, journaling and listening to music. Anything that invokes a sense of calm can help you stay connected to yourself.
- Learn new skills: Instead of staying idle and bored, use your time to learn new things. Get creative and do the things you have on the back burner but have never had the time. Learning new things can help improve your wellbeing by helping you connect with others, even though it may be virtual. It also gives you something to look forward to, helping you to build a sense of purpose and can boost your self-confidence.
The Importance Of Mental Habits
Tackling mental health concerns has become more difficult now that we’re all dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak. However, it is important to ensure that these concerns are not swept under the rug, for it’s important for people to be healthy, sharp and vigilant.
For health workers, depression, among other mental health disorders, can greatly affect productivity. Frontline health professionals, being the first antagonist against COVID-19, have all the necessary equipment and knowledge to manage the pandemic and are therefore, significant figures to the elimination of the disease. But the instability of their mental health will definitely jeopardize the progress made towards the elimination of the virus.
The transition of surviving COVID-19 patients to mental health patients will affect and disrupt the global health sector, as the great increase in mental ailments will require a great workforce to tackle too. The transition to a mental ailment will also result in national development fall back, as the national productivity from expected normal health-promoting behaviors will be greatly affected.
It is therefore important to ensure the initiation of solutions to stress and anxiety reduction that comes with COVID-19. Among these solutions is the response to mental health deterioration by the pandemic, issued by the UN. These responses will be incorporated into the usual COVID-19 response. The major aim of this response is to promote and protect the mental health of the general public, provide mental health support to the anxious and psychological needs of the vulnerable class, and proper funding for mental health treatment alongside COVID-19 treatment.
The progress and productivity of a nation will be affected greatly by mental health disorders following COVID-19. The factors facilitated by the disease, causing deterioration of mental health cannot be eliminated, but responses towards these can prevent post-traumatic stress and anxiety among these groups.