Effects of Covid-19 on Mental Health

May 29, 2020

When the novel coronavirus came into the limelight, the focus was primarily on the effects it had on one’s physical health, as opposed to the psychological implications on the affected and unaffected individuals. There have been reports of mental distress everywhere, especially among children and healthcare workers. With the outside world shut down, schools not functional, social life brought to a standstill, and news of millions falling prey to the virus every day, it is becoming harder for those with mental health issues to cope up.

According to a UN policy brief released on Thursday, throughout the pandemic, 47% of healthcare workers in Canada have reported a need for psychological support; 50% in China reported depression; 42% in Pakistan reported moderate psychological distress while 26% reported severe psychological distress. Parents in countries like Italy and Spain have reported that confinement due to the pandemic had resulted in their children having difficulty concentrating, increased restlessness and irritability, nervousness and feelings of loneliness. People can also face high levels of fear and anxiety, changes in sleep or eating patterns; find difficulty sleeping or concentrating; and may experience increased usage of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

“I think it is the absolute uncertainty of the future combined with having to confront things from the past because of the excessive time I have with myself that has resulted in anxiety and anxiety attacks. The mornings are the worst because I always wake up with a racing heart and shortness of breath. I have begun yoga and online hypnotherapy and it is making me feel better,” said Ananya, a college student from Dubai, who has been dealing with anxiety due to the pandemic.

The director-general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that social isolation, fear of contagion, and loss of family members is compounded by the distress caused by loss of income and often unemployment. He added that it is not clear that mental health should be treated as a core element of our response to and recovery from the pandemic.

One can protect their mental health during such a time by:

Taking a break from reading or watching the news on the pandemic: Constantly having to watch or read negative news surrounding the pandemic can lead to stress.

Staying connected with people: Keeping in touch with people who care about you can help maintain good mental health during long periods of self-isolation.

Avoiding burnout: With a lot of time ahead of us, it is important to not face burnout. Take breaks from work, do exercise and eat healthily.

Take care of your body: Meditating, getting enough sleep, eating healthy, balanced meals can help maintain both your physical and mental health during this stressful time.



By Sanjana Shyam
Sanjana is a Bachelor of Arts student in Communication and Media, English and Psychology studying at CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bengaluru. She was born in Kodaikanal, spent most of her childhood in Oman, and did her higher schooling in Kannur, Kerala. Her interests include writing, sketching, photography, music and drama.
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Comment on this article

  • Bambina Chinnamma, Mangalore

    Wed, Jun 03 2020

    Congratulations Sanju. Well written about the mental health of young and old during this covid-19. All the best .

  • Dr. Prashantha Naik, Mangaluru

    Tue, Jun 02 2020

    A nice article in the right situation. Thanks for the mental support

  • Vijayakumar s, Bangalore, Karnrtaka

    Mon, Jun 01 2020

    Well written Sanju. Looking forward to seeing more such articles

  • Kirubnath, Chennai

    Sun, May 31 2020

    I feel, Sanju, the best option to get rid of this turbulent time is staying connected with your good old friends, as like you said--

    "Staying connected with people: Keeping in touch with people who care about you can help maintain good mental health during long periods of self-isolation."

    Anyways, a good article! Blessings! Keep up the good work!

  • C.G.Sequeira, Mangalore

    Sun, May 31 2020

    Congratulations Sanjana Shyam for your wonderful and informative article about the effects of Covid-19 on mental health. Keep writing, all the best!

  • Vincent D'sa, Dubai

    Fri, May 29 2020

    There is only one basic reason why we have so much mental issues. Absence of quality reading. That is why we are easily gullible. We have kept our mental door open to absolute negativity shutting it completely for any positive feedback. If we are able to correct this balance most of our mental suffering will be over. Secondly we have adopted a very fearful approach to this Covid 19 infection. Virus is viral because of its ability to penetrate any defense. The big factor at the moment is we are overthinking about the fatality and infection rate. We are ignoring recovery rate and just concentrating on fatality and infection rate. Thirdly compare the infection and fatality rate against total population of the infected area, you will find that the percentage is too low. That doesn’t mean that we should be careless. We should take necessary precautions and live happily. At the moment we are concentrating too much on its drawbacks rather positive outcome.
    This outbreak is a outcome of our negligence toward our own body and mind. So nature took a weapon to remind us. What Covid 19 is demanding from us? A healthy body and a hygienic environment. 90% population need not even require medication. Is this a disease? I feel this is a reminder/ memo to bring back the balance we have lost in modernization.
    Good article Sanjana. Being a student of Psychology you should write often. good luck.

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