Mental Health During The Covid 19
The importance of mental health has been more magnified during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Since, during a fast paced lifestyle that was lived in the past, individuals overworked and were too busy to understand their emotions and mental health needs. There were negative effects of the pandemic to health but also mental health. Since constant change and isolation impacts our mental health negatively. However, other factors such as losing a job, having sick family and friends, and for others losing loved ones definitely has a negative impact on the mental health of individuals (Sandoiu 2021). Not only the loss of people, jobs and way of life impacted the mental health of individuals, but also the stress that came with understanding the impacts covid-19 has short and long term (Sandoiu 2021). Since, understanding it’s impact on our health, and how it affects individuals, has caused a lot of fear. Covid-19 caused more added stress and fear by ensuring to keep others safe through not transmitting the virus.That may be more severely impacted by the virus which will add guilt and stress.
The mental health of individuals who have already experienced mental health difficulties the pandemic made it harder on those individuals, women and individuals part of the Black, Indigenous, People of Colour community (Sandoiu 2021). Since they were dealing with struggles before the pandemic that was amplified, increasing the negative impacts that were caused on mental health.
Since the pandemic caused there to be a transition to remote school that caused a lot of stress for women taking care of children since they needed to take care of children, while working and taking care of household activities (Time’s Up, 2021). That caused a lot of added stress and anxiety to work and take care of kids. That 1 in 4 women were considering leaving the workforce while over 2 million women left the workforce all together (Time’s Up, 2021). That if there is paid child care since it is very expensive it would have helped women work in the workforce without the added stress that the pandemic has given to individuals, women had an added stress of also taking care of children while working. It added a lot of stress for women to balance work and taking care of the kids while also learning to transition to remote work and the other challenges that came with the pandemic. Such as the stress of uncertainty, since there were a lot of lockdowns and changes to the way that we do life. There were also a lot of changes to in person school for children, transitioning to remote school and then going back to in person all in a short period of time. That adds a lot of added stress for mother to be able to adapt to that change very quickly, but also anticipate that change and make the necessary changes. That having more support during that time and more leniency from work would have helped women transition better, and have reduced stress.
Not only do women get impacted by pandemics in the workforce from transitioning to remote work while taking care of children and adapting to change, but a lot of our health professionals are women. The stress that frontline workers have gone through has also had a negative impact on their mental health. Since frontline workers included our health professionals that worked over time during the pandemic. A lot of their co-workers were getting sick that they needed to cover for them and they needed to work longer hours to take care of the patients who were getting sick from covid-19. While also taking care of the passionate with chronic and severe illnesses but also the individuals who were getting sick from other diseases that needed
to be treated. While also ensuring that they themselves are very careful so that they do not test positive with Covid-19 so that they can help others. While also not knowing how they will react to the virus and how they will take care of their families and ensure that they do not get their family sick as well. All of this stress is a lot for one person to handle that negatively impacts the mental health of our mental health professionals that more support will be needed for women in that field.
Women are also working in our frontline. A lot of these women are women part of the BiPOC community that cannot afford to get sick since their livelihood would be severely impacted. Since a lot of bipoc women are also less likely to have direct access to resources and higher quality services either by not knowing about it or not qualifying for them, they are more disadvantaged (Time’s Up, 2021). The loss of their job will impact their ability to take care of their families and be able to ensure that they can afford rent and food, which causes a lot of stress. As the American Psychology Association explains, losing a job is a trauma that can be
very detrimental to one’s mental and physical health (Time’s Up, 2021).
Individuals have said that they had experienced more stress, anxiety and changes to their routine that impacted their energy levels and felt more emotionally tired. Those individuals who already used to experience anxiety would be harder now with more uncertainties, adapting, changing routines and adapting to a lot of change in a short period of time.
Pandemic has been viewed as a medical phenomena, but a pandemic affect individuals and societies, causes disruptions, anxiety, stress, stigma and xenophobia (Javed et al., 2020). Making changes to our lifestyle and way of life helped reduce the spread of Covid-19 but had a big effect on our behavior and mental health. Since isolation and staying at home was recommended to stop the spread which impacted the wellbeing of individuals since being in front of a laptop, being at home for long periods of time is not sustainable. Also, the separation from loved ones, loss of freedom, boredom, and uncertainty can cause a deterioration in an individual's mental health status (Javed et al., 2020). Staying connected with friends and family through different platforms, developing a routine, and practicing more self care would be helpful, but in the long term it will be difficult to reduce stress and anxiety with all the changes.
The pandemic has impacted the lifestyle of the whole and impacted the mental health of certain groups more than other groups. However, as a bigger population these hardships and adapting to change has shown the resilience of people and the ability for individuals to see the best out of a hardship. A study that was conducted by researchers has shown loneliness only modestly increased to 13.8% compared to 11% that was recorded in 2018 in the US (Akin, Zaki,and Dunn, 2021). In the UK, individuals experiencing distress rose to 27% during the pandemic compared to previous years when it was 19% (Akin, Zaki, and Dunn,2021). This shows the resilience of individuals and people's ability to adapt in a short period of time to change. It also shows how we will need to better prepare for a future pandemic and how to support the most impacted and vulnerable population during difficulties.
The pandemic has shown great negative impacts on mental health that individuals and communities faced. However, it has also shown the resilience that people have and better ways to prepare for crisis.
How covid-19 has disproportionately affected the mental health of women and BIPOC workers. TIME'S UP Foundation. (2021, May 20). Retrieved March 5, 2022, from https://timesupfoundation.org/how-covid-19-has-affected-the-mental-health-of-women-and-bipoc -workers-disproportionately/
Javed, B., Sarwer, A., Soto, E. B., & Mashwani, Z.-U.-R. (2020, September). The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic's impact on Mental Health. The International journal of health planning and management. Retrieved March 5, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7361582/
Lara Aknin, J. Z. (2021, July 4). The pandemic did not affect mental health the way you think. The Atlantic. Retrieved March 5, 2022, from https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/07/covid-19-did-not-affect-mental-health-way-yo u-think/619354/
MediLexicon International. (n.d.). The mental health effects of the pandemic, 1 Year on. Medical News Today. Retrieved March 5, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/mental-health-during-the-pandemic-1-year-on