The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increases in social isolation, as well as unemployment and financial problems for many people. According to research, the effects of the pandemic have also led to mental health challenges.
This includes an increase in loneliness, anxiety, stress, depression and other uncomfortable emotions.
Let’s look at some of the early research into the impact of the pandemic on mental health, and strategies for coping with life during COVID-19.
Research on the pandemic and mental health
While it’s early days yet and the pandemic is far from over, research so far reveals an increase in mental health problems. Here are some examples.
- Beyond Blue reports it has experienced a 40% increase in the use of its services compared to last year.
- A Vox Pop Labs survey shows a doubling of the number of people reporting mental health problems due to the virus. Other results include a tripling (or more) in uncomfortable emotions such as fear, anger and despair, a five-fold increase in feelings of confusion, and a massive jump in boredom.
A preliminary study of 1,200 people by Monash University indicated that a majority of the participants were mildly anxious or depressed, and that 30% were experiencing moderate to high depression. This study is ongoing.
Managing your mental health during the pandemic
It’s important to know that it’s perfectly normal to experience a range of emotions in response to the pandemic, and that there is no right or wrong way to feel.
Even so, there are still some measures we can all take to help our wellbeing during this time, such as:
- Reducing our consumption of constant negative news.
- Creating new routines if working or studying from home.
- Exercising regularly as this can improve our mental as well as our physical health.
- Eating healthily.
- Taking advantage of apps to stay in contact with others – such as Zoom or Facetime.
- Letting our children know it’s okay for them to feel whatever it is they are feeling.
- Making time to create some fun activities, especially for kids.
Taking proper work breaks – especially important when working from home.
Ask for help if you need it
It’s crucial to reach out for professional assistance if you need to. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like book a video or face to face session with our psychologists to help you through any mental health challenges you may be experiencing.