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POST COVID-19 MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES: FUTURE PERSPECTIVE

Updated: Apr 22, 2021



Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has raised an alarming situation around the World with 137 Million active cases and 2.95 million deaths till date. The effects of devastating pandemic have rehabilitated our everyday lifestyle leading to rising mental health issues.

Although US struggled substantial challenging times to survive during first wave of pandemic, there is a strong indication of second wave with subsequent rise in mental health issues and other disorders. This forthcoming mental health surge is proved to be challenging not only on individual level but also, families and societies will be affected with increased mortality rates due to suicide and drug overindulges. The mental health upsurge will excessively distress adults, lower-class and health care workers.

As per survey, by June 2020, 40.9% of US adult population face depression, post-traumatic stress and anxiety. However, the rise in depression, post-traumatic stress and anxiety during the post-pandemic time is 3-4 times higher than it was reported earlier. The mental health organization is momentously stressing over health concerns and are striving to implement several strategies to diminish the impact in individuals with advanced levels of risk. Screening, mental health risk evaluation and treatment is so far found to be effective.


MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES: IMPACT OF QUARANTINE AND SOCIAL DISTANCING


As a consequence of the current COVID-19 pandemic, quarantine and social distancing demonstrates drastic psychiatric effects which is not only restricted on the anxiety of contracting the virus. This mainly is due to not being able to meet closed ones, loss of freedom, feeling of vulnerability and lack of purpose due to change in lifestyle. Furthermore, as per reports, women are more prone to be influenced by depression and anxiety.

Considering the reports, children and young people were affected with long lasting mental health issues due to the household economic loss. During quarantine, numerous behavioral variations have been observed by parents in children including dullness, grumpiness, anxiety, fears, nervousness and lack of concentration.

Multiple specialists have deduced that since last six months, 236,379 indiviuals in U.S. experienced mental distress and neurological disorders after being diagnosed with COVID-19.


Systematic overview of post pandemic causes in USA
Figure 1. Systematic Overview of post pandemic causes in United States of America (Source: Marvaldi et al. (2021))

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES: IMPACT ON STUDENTS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC


The unprecedented times of pandemic has caused ambiguity among global organizations including educational institutes. Despite of online platforms, students at large have been reluctant to study more effectively. In addition, this affected academic performances with lack of physical learning activities. Perhaps, it is still bothering educational bodies to grab seemingly impossible opportunities to settle down health risks without compromising quality of education. To tackle the emerging threats, a strict lockdown imposed which ceased all academic and curricular activities leading to nervous breakdown of students globally.

Amidst the pertaining doubts, a university in U.S. evaluated responses from students to measure the extent of mental health issues due to lockdown.

The following data comprises of 195 participants who had been recently enrolled into undergraduate programs in university:


Mental health symptoms	Number of participants Stress due to COVID -19 outbreak	(138/199) Anxiety about one’s own health	(177/199) Stress about family/relative’s health	(76/177) Anxiety about family member’s increasing risk in COVID-19 exposure	(26/127) Stress about contracting virus	(19/177) Anxiety due to lack of concentration on academic activities	(173/195) Interruption in sleeping routine	(168/195) Less social interactions due to self-isolation	(167/195) Less outdoor activities affected mental health	(9/167) Depressive thoughts	(86/195) Loneliness	(28/86) Insecurity/ Uncertainty	(10/86) Hopelessness 	(9/86) Overthinking 	(4/86) Suicidal thoughts	(16/195)
Table 1. Impact of COVID-19 on mental health of young university students in Texas, United States (Source: Son et al. (2020))

MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES: IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON ADOLESCENTS WITHOUT PRE-EXISTING MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES


In the light of COVID-19 pandemic, individuals with existing mental health problems are more susceptible to undergo physiological sufferings. Correspondingly, it also influenced individuals with no pre-existing mental illness especially due to self-isolation and social distancing. The noteworthy symptoms turned out to be physical or mental stress as regular routines were disturbed simultaneously.


CONCLUSION


Despite of the adverse effects to almost every industrial sector, the invention of modern technology including virtual reality, remote medical counselling and useful gadgets played a vital role in the reducing the probability of mental health issues. However, this only proved helpful for adolescents as per the research. One of the major positive outcomes that evolved during the times of pandemic was the readily accessibility to help the treatment of mental health disorders through virtual assistance from global medical experts.

On contrary to benefits of virtual technology, research shows that several adults with psychological distresses and traumas are not prone towards virtual treatments and therefore they rather prefer face-to-face interactions with their respective therapist. Besides, the therapy not only does require live conversations, but also demand healthy group of experimental activities which would not be possible through online consultations.

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