Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health

BY DR PEARLENE NG

“Circuit breaker”, “safe distancing” and “3-ply masks” are just three words in the new vocabulary that we have become too familiar with as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. Many of us may experience a wave of emotions at the mere mention of these words, suggesting the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on our mental health.

A survey 1 of employees in the United States found that 70% saw the COVID-19 pandemic as the most stressful period of their entire professional career, causing them to feel symptoms of depression, anxiety and insomnia. Another study 2 in China found that 53.8% of the respondents rated the psychological impact of the coronavirus outbreak as moderate or severe, and reported moderate to severe levels of depression, anxiety and stress.

The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and will inevitably impact our mental health as we try to make sense of and cope with the new normal. As we seek to cope with our lives, we are also inundated by constant news about the worldwide impact. COVID-19 can affect our mental health in the following ways:

The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented and will inevitably impact our mental health as we try to make sense of and cope with the new normal.

Here are some ways to take care of our mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic:

The contributor is a Clinical Psychologist at Viriya Community Services.

References

  1. Gavidia, M. (2020). American Journal of Managed Care. Retrieved from How Has COVID-19 Affected Mental Health, Severity of Stress Among Employees? https://www.ajmc.com/newsroom/how-has-covid19-affected-mental-health-severity-of-stress-among-employees
  2. Wang, C.; Pan, R.; Wan, X.; Tan, Y.; Xu, L.; Ho, C.S.; Ho, R.C. Immediate Psychological Responses and Associated Factors during the Initial Stage of the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Epidemic among the General Population in China. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1729.
  3. Brooks, Sam & Webster, Rebecca & Smith, Louise & Woodland, Lisa & Wessely, Simon & Greenberg, Neil & Rubin, Gideon. (2020). The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence. The Lancet. 395. 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30460-8.