Since the lockdown started last March 2020, depression and anxiety cases increased as countries implement nationwide lockdowns. This pandemic has suspended the lives of individuals around the world that caused severe effects on mental health. The sudden rapid changes in the daily routine of individuals, job loss, maintaining employment, covid testing, quarantine, and involuntary isolation may be linked to mental health symptoms.
The early weeks of lockdown have put the students to attend classes virtually due to the closure of schools and universities, while the adults in the working class transitioned to working remotely due to the closure of offices and establishments, with that said, unemployment increased too. The policies with the lockdown may have caused the feeling of loneliness to individuals due to social distancing, limited to none in social gatherings, and isolation. With that said, an increase in loneliness and lesser social interactions are known as risk factors for acquiring mental disorders, including major depression and schizophrenia. While having too much concern about one’s health and the health of their loved ones, (especially if there are elderly involved) and the uncertainty of future careers, etc. may lead to anxiety, depression, and fear.
During this pandemic, the “threat” is not only carried by an unknown known source, it can also be a threat to our mental health. It can be serious for those people who; 1) have direct/indirect contact with the virus or those people infected by the virus, 2) are already vulnerable to stressors including those people who are affected by mental health problems, 3) are health professionals/frontliners because they are exposed and more at risk with the virus, 4) and those people who follow the news and social media posts on internet platforms. In addition, Covid 19 also caused stigma and discrimination towards those individuals who tested positive, including their family members, as well as the health care workers who go home to their families.
For us to reduce the risks of acquiring mental health problems, here are a few things that might help:
Disregard stressful news on the internet or social media that came from uncontrolled and unofficial sources. This way we can limit stressful ‘fake news since this is considered one of the sources of it. Remember to rely on official information, but only limit your time reading through the news on social media or the internet.
Increase communication with friends, family, and loved ones by doing video calls and/or group calls with them. This practice may reduce the feeling of loneliness.
Maintain a routine, from waking up in the morning until your bedtime. It is also important to do some indoor activities at home every day and you can also plan your meals ahead.
Focus on the benefits of this lockdown/quarantine period, always remind yourself that we are all doing this for the safety of ourselves and everyone around us and also to minimize casualties during this pandemic.
If the effects of this isolation are becoming too invasive, ask for professional help.
Liu, C., Zhang, E., Wong, G., Hyun, S., Hahm, H.. (2020) “Factors associated with depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptomatology during Covid 19 Pandemic: Clinical implications for U.S. young adult mental health”, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113172
Fiorillo, A., Gorwood, P., (2020) “The consequences of the Covid 19 pandemic on mental health and implications for clinical practice”, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1192/j.eurpsy.2020.35