Mental health during 1 year of pandemic!
The ensuing lockdowns were hard on all of us. It’s been more than 1 year since the start of this pandemic and many things have changed. The mental well-being of many people around the world has been affected. How are we dealing with it?
The mental health of people across the globe has taken a big hit. Last year, there were more people suffering from stress and anxiety that came as a result of the first waves of lockdown.
People have been worried about the emotional impact that comes when we lose our loved ones. Many have problems coping with the isolation and others didn’t know how to deal with job loss or financial insecurity.
Throughout the pandemic, even frontline healthcare workers have faced similar emotional challenges. They were forced to work and expose themselves to the virus while others had the benefit of working from home. At the start of the pandemic, some had the advantage of working in a safe space while others did not.
A small survey done in March 2020 revealed increased alcohol and cannabis use among people in the United States. People probably turned to these substances in an attempt to relieve their pandemic-induced anxiety and depression.
In the same survey another important finding was that 38% of people were feeling tired or lacked energy, 36% had sleep disturbances and 25% were feeling down and scared.
Another study, this time is done in the United Kingdom found similar results. From the people that participated, 25% said that anxiety and depression levels got significantly worse at the time the study took place (May 2020).
Still, besides all of the negative impact, there was also hope. The hope was that the pandemic would allow us to slow down, be more mindful, and have more time to think and reflect on our lives. Still, was this year enough to make these hopes materialize? Has the pandemic brought any benefits for our well-being? Has our mental health changed compared with this time last year?
Scientists are using lots of data to analyze the impact that pandemic control measures have had on people’s mental health. Even though the full picture is not clear we can still have some first ideas and impressions.
According to a December 2020 survey done in the United States, 42% of people reported symptoms of anxiety and depression. This was a huge increase compared with the 11% they spotted in 2019.
The picture looks similar in the entire world. A recent study published in the UK showed how depression rates increased by 9% compared with previous years. This is also true for Australia and Canada that found a 14% increase in anxiety and depression as a result of the pandemic.
Researchers also expressed worries that some of these adverse mental health effects may linger after the pandemic will finish. The tricky part is that the only way we are going to find out what will happen is by living it.
It has been one year since the start of the pandemic and people will manage to make it out of it. We have to, it’s the only way!