It is now more important than ever to be aware of the mental health implications of Covid. Recent studies have shown that mental health conditions are on the rise in countries all over the world, and it is likely that this trend will continue in the aftermath of Covid. Whether you are infected with Covid or not, it is important to be aware of the mental health risks associated with this pandemic. In this article, we will discuss some of the most common mental health conditions and their potential impacts post-Covid.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is one mental health condition that is especially at risk of being negatively impacted by Covid. Studies have shown that individuals who are exposed to trauma and stress, such as those experiencing or witnessing a natural disaster, are more likely to experience PTSD in the short-term. Given the ongoing nature of Covid and its impact on communities throughout the world, it is likely that many individuals will experience increased levels of trauma and stress, which could lead to an increase in mental health challenges such as PTSD.
Some recent studies have also found a correlation between Covid and PTSD
- A study conducted by Matsumoto et al. in 2022 concluded that 1.8% of people not infected with covid-19 exhibited symptoms of PTSD afterwards.
- Nearly 1 in 5 patients who were hospitalised for Covid developed significant post-traumatic stress symptoms within one month.
- In the study conducted by Ouyang et al. in 2022, it was found that PTSD symptoms had increased from 10.73% to 20.84%.
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The depression symptoms of low mood could be caused by the lockdown, not being able to see people, and not doing regular daily tasks. Having other mental health problems, such as anxiety, might also result in a low mood which would make the depression worse.
According to a recent study, 1 in 5 non-infected individuals have diagnosable depression. (Matsumoto et al., 2022).
If you want to find out more about depression, Shawmind’s CPD accredited Understanding Depression course will teach you about what depression is, how it affects people, how it can be managed and how you can support someone struggling.
Anxiety disorders are also becoming more common post-Covid, as individuals find themselves worrying about their own health and the health of loved ones.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, many people have found increased difficulty with anxiety in both its mental and physical manifestations, such as:
- restlessness or feeling on edge
- difficulty concentrating
- muscle tension
- sleep problems
For those who excessively worry, the thought of catching or dying from covid may increase levels of anxiety.
- A study has found that anxiety and depression affect 23% of patients who have recovered from Covid-19.(Huang et al., 2021).
- Anxiousness disorders were present in 10.4% of people who weren’t infected with a disease. (Matsumoto et al., 2022).
Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD, is another mental health condition that has seen an increase in prevalence post-Covid. Individuals with OCD find themselves constantly worrying about whether they have properly washed their hands or if their home is adequately disinfected.
They may also experience repetitive thoughts and behaviours like checking for germs multiple times a day or ritualistic hand washing.
- Recent studies have confirmed that 1.6% of non-infected individuals have OCD (Matsumoto et al., 2022).
Want to learn about OCD? Shawmind’s Understanding OCD course will give you an introduction to OCD , ideal for anyone with OCD or anyone who supports others with OCD including parents, teachers, and employers.
The mental health impacts of Covid are not exclusive to mental health conditions that are already present in a given individual. For many, the experience of staying isolated at home and facing social isolation can lead to increased susceptibility to developing an eating disorder.
Eating disorders commonly include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder.
A recent study found that roughly 2% of non-infected individuals were suffering from an eating disorder before Covid (Matsumoto et al., 2022).
Given the mental health impacts of Covid, it is important to seek support and mental healthcare as needed. Whether you are struggling with mental health conditions that are already present in your life or if you are experiencing mental health symptoms related to Covid, there is help available. Seeking support and treatment can help you cope with the mental health challenges associated with Covid, and can also enable you to lead a healthy, happy life.
Want to learn more about eating disorders?
Our Understanding Eating Disorders course is ideal for an introduction to the topic of eating disorders or as a knowledge refresher course. This fully online course provides a level of understanding that can be applied to personal or work life situations.
Covid may also be impacting mental health in domestic violence situations. Many survivors of domestic abuse who are already experiencing mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, or PTSD may find that the isolation caused by Covid is further exacerbating their mental health symptoms.
Additionally, individuals who are experiencing mental health challenges related to Covid may find it difficult to leave an abusive relationship due to the mental health impacts of Covid.
If you are a survivor of domestic violence and are struggling with mental health issues related to Covid, it is important to seek support and mental healthcare as needed. Whether you need help managing existing mental health conditions or if you need assistance addressing mental health challenges related to Covid, there is help available. By reaching out for mental health support, you can lead a healthy and happy life despite the mental health impacts of Covid.
The mental health impacts of Covid are also impacting individuals struggling with substance use disorders. Many people who struggle with addiction find that their mental health challenges, especially anxiety and depression, increase the potential for relapse during periods of stress or social isolation.
Additionally, individuals struggling with mental health conditions related to Covid may be at an increased risk of relapse due to mental health challenges associated with Covid.
Eventually, individuals who abuse substances repeatedly begin to rely on them to feel good and can become addicted or dependent. According to Roberts et al. (2021), as many as 7 in 10 people used alcohol during the Covid pandemic, while 17.5% used other substances such as amphetamines, cannabis, stimulants, sleep aids and recreational drugs.
School refusal can be a mental health issue in its own right, but it can also be a symptom of an underlying mental health condition. For example, some students who experience school refusal may be dealing with anxiety or depression and may find that they are unable to attend school due to mental health challenges related to Covid.
The previous school closures as part of broader social distancing measures during the height of the pandemic also are associated with considerable harms to children and young people’s health and wellbeing. School routines are important coping mechanisms for young people in general, but especially those with mental health issues or underlying conditions. When schools are closed, they lose an anchor in life and their symptoms often worsen.
If you or your child is struggling with mental health concerns related to Covid, it is important to seek support and mental healthcare as needed. Whether you need help managing existing mental health conditions or if you are experiencing mental health challenges related to Covid, there are mental health resources available that can help. By reaching out for mental health support, you can lead a healthy and happy life despite the mental health impact of Covid.
- According to the Department for Education, in 2018-2019, school refusal affected 1 out of every 10 students (10.9%) in the UK (Department for Education, 2020; Kljakovic et al., 2021).
We also find that it can be useful to consider mindfulness practices, or the “5 ways to wellbeing”. These are both techniques to minimise stress, anxiety and other stress-related behaviours and thought processes. Find out more here:
Post-Covid, the key figures are:
Over a fifth of students (21.3%) were absent from school due to Covid circumstances
According to the data, 12.1% of students had persistent absences this year, which is an increase from the previous year of 10.8%.
The student absence rate is 4.6%. This means that out of 20 students, 1 will be absent. The percentage has decreased from 4.7% the previous academic year according to Gov UK (2022).