The Impact of COVID on Mental Health

It has been a few months since the coronavirus first appeared in the U.S. and not long since the U.S. had to ultimately declare the pandemic as a national emergency. This has led to many states issuing a stay-at-home order in the early stages of the pandemic, and it has caused numerous mental health problems over the fear and stress of contracting the coronavirus.

In July, the KFF Health Tracking Poll showed that 53 percent of adults reported that their mental health had been negatively impacted by the coronavirus. The reports were not only about their mental health but also their well-being. For instance, many have discussed having trouble sleeping, eating, and having an increase in chronic pain. There have also been reports of an increase in alcohol consumption.

Young adults, minorities, essential workers, and unpaid caregivers have also reported having an increase in substance abuse and suicidal thoughts. Factors that have contributed to these negative thoughts are the loss of their jobs, not being able to see their loved ones, and not being able to interact with other people. The more time that is spent alone the more isolated a person feels from the outside world, which can also cause a longer time spent on electronics or bingeing on high-calorie products.

Federal agencies have also chimed in on the issue of mental health, with warnings that the rapid increase in reports of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, or substance abuse will have its own separate set of predicaments. Just as the demand for medical occupations workload has increased in hospital care settings, so has the call for therapists of different specialties. During this time many individuals are seeking help for anxiety issues or other mental health problems but are not fully covered financially by the government. This means that individuals that would like or need someone to talk to professionally would not be able to do so because of the lack of economic support. 

For this reason, the CDC has listed a couple of different techniques or tips to deal with stress to help reduce the curve of mental struggles. Some methods involve taking a break from any information regarding the coronavirus as it may be upsetting to hear it often, prioritize self-care by doing some activities that you find enjoyable, and taking care of your emotional health as it will help you react to any urgent needs regarding yourself or your family members.