It has been over six months since the coronavirus started spreading like wildfire across all continents. Apart from impacting the economy and politics adversely, the pandemic has negatively affected our mental health. The devastating effects on mental health may be observed across people of all ages and therefore is not limited to students. Understandably, medical professionals and public health specialists are focused on taking care of individuals who are very sick, while containing the spread of the coronavirus in the general population. Thus, less attention is given to the psychological consequences of the COVID-19 crisis.
Undoubtedly, one of the most negatively affected groups amidst the COVID pandemic are high school and college students. This virus is creating an undue stress in the minds of teens and young adults who are unable to attend school and participate in extracurricular activities. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a dramatic increase in depression, anxiety, psychosis, and suicidal behaviors among students, as new research shows. One of the leading causes of anxiety among students is a fear of lost opportunities. Additionally, learners with ADD are the worst hit amongst all students, primarily because increased screen time makes focusing and concentrating a Herculean task.
Adults are equally frustrated during the pandemic as they are incapable of venturing out for personal pleasure. Additionally, about 400 million people have lost their jobs worldwide within a few months of the pandemic. Many of these people reeling from the aftermath are suffering from depression and hopelessness. While suicide helplines and various NGOs are fighting tirelessly to save as many lives as possible, suicide rates are increasing. Therefore, isolation creates problems for mental health—even as it protects physical health.
The virus has not spared even the mental health of the elderly. While younger people are pummeled into depression and anxiety disorders because of stress related to work, elderly people have a vastly different concern of their own. Hospitals in cities are not treating COVID patients and those that are, are generally closed for most other emergency check-ups. The constant fear and anxiety in older people is primarily because a vast majority of health services may not offer immediate treatment because they are simply overwhelmed with treating patients affected by coronavirus.
We cannot help but feel deeply disheartened by the way the virus is gnawing at the mental stability of people of all demographics. The only hope we have is to resort to video calls to stay connected with friends and family. While social isolation is necessary for us to stay physically healthy, without ensuring our sanity, we can never be truly healthy. For the time being, we should be vigilant and follow the rules that have been prescribed by health professionals worldwide. Hand sanitizers and masks are our only crutches. The best we can do is try to maintain our physical health and hope that everything else falls into place once the pandemic subsides.
If you are struggling with your mental health, please consider participating in Redefy's Roots campaign, which you can find under the 'Campaigns' tab at redefy.org.