COVID-19 and Mental Health


With the spread of COVID-19, staying at home has become the new “normal.” While staying at home helps to flatten the curve and keep others safe, spending 24/7 locked inside your house with your family can be very draining to one’s mental health.

The cancellation of school, extracurricular activities, and some jobs seems intimidating. The time seems to creep by very slowly and cabin fever can begin to set in. The isolation and loneliness that comes with spending all day inside, either alone or with family, can leave people feeling as though they have no control over the situation. It can also lead to feelings of being cut off from friends, family, and even just civilization in general.

The American Psychological Association reports that social isolation brings a number of health risks including poor sleep, poor cardiovascular health, lower immunity, depressive symptoms, and impaired executive function. When executive function skills are impaired, it can become more difficult to focus, manage emotions, remember information, and follow directions.

Being stuck at home has also caused a rise in domestic abuse cases. Being trapped in the same house as an abuser is scary to think about, but sadly it’s something that a large number of people are being faced with right now. “All those who live in dysfunctional families in these times of self-isolation are at greater risk of violence because the additional stress, frustration and tension that the isolation brings can boost the dysfunctional patterns of behaviour among family members or abusive partners. Thus a violent person can become even more violent,” Ivana Stoimenovska, a psychologist and family counselor in North Macedonia, told the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network.

A spike in suicides has also occurred as an effect of COVID-19. While there is no single reason why this spike is happening, stress, loneliness and a rise in unemployment rates and domestic abuse cases can all be attributed.

One can help improve their mental health in many different ways right now. Establishing routines can help one to feel like the day has a purpose. For high school students, structuring your day as if it’s a normal school day can be helpful. Being as active as possible can make one feel good mentally and physically. While gyms are closed at this time, a large number of workout videos and routines exist online that can be followed. One of the most beneficial and important activities you could do right now is communicating. Staying in contact with other people not only keeps boredom away, but it is also critical for minimizing the sense of isolation. Ways you could communicate with others include eating regular meals with others in the home, checking in with friends and family each day, using different forms of communication including phone, text, email, messaging, and video call and using social media networks such as Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram.

While this is a difficult time for everyone, it’s important to remember that we are all in this together.

Domestic abuse hotline: 1-800-799-7233
Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255

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