Mental Health During COVID-19
This article will give readers the chance to get a better understanding of the effects on our mental health during COVID-19, and how you can cope with the effects.
The mental health during Covid-19 outbreak, took a toll on everyone in some way, shape, or form. During the quarantine process, we were distanced from our social-norms. Which is a drastic change when we were ordered to stay home for the protection of our loved ones, and those around us. The isolation and loneliness was a big reason why the mental health problems went up. COVID-19 was an impact we weren’t really expecting. So when the outbreak happened, and everyone was ordered to stay home, people who were already having problems with mental health, just grew worse. And people that didn’t have problems before, were starting to experience it. And as the pandemic went on, mental health problems increased.
Mental health is often overlooked. People know it’s a problem, but won't talk about it. Instead they focus on ‘fixing the economy’, immigration, or welfare. Former President, Donald Trump, did a video interview with TIME, that talks about mental illness. He said “Mental illness is something nobody wants to talk about.” He goes on to say, “We have to look very seriously at mental illness”
The mind is very powerful. Everything that works in your body is because of your brain. Your brain controls your nervous system, the circulation of your blood, whether you breathe through your nose or mouth, and even if you're hungry or not. Your brain also controls your fight or flight instincts, and that ability just may save your life. When someone is suffering from a mental illness, and your brain isn’t functioning at the capacity that it is supposed to, it can create a problem.
Mental health is a major issue that no one will sit down and talk about, outside of a clinical setting. It’s not mentioned in the news, and when it is mentioned, they quickly steer the topic towards something else equally as important, but is consistently talked about. It’s not given the proper amount of attention; and instead of focusing on the people that really do struggle, they focus on something else. What people don’t understand is that 31% of children had mental health problems before COVID-19. Then lockdown happened, and 29% of kids were already harmed. That means 2% of children didn’t already have a pre-existing mental illness.
If we were to look further into the mental illnesses that were developed during the Covid-19 Pandemic we could break them down by type. One of the mental illnesses that was frequently brought up was anxiety. A survey that was conducted, revealed that almost all the participants had some form of anxiety. One revealed that they were anxious about being alone. Another revealed they felt most anxious around people. An interview with a 17-year-old girl from Ohio, revealed she had the most anxiety at night, causing problems with her sleep cycle. The littlest things can cause anxiety, and the pandemic was not a little thing.
Along with anxiety came depression. Another survey was conducted to see how many people noticed if they had depression. 62.5% reported back yes, and 25% said if they did, they didn’t notice it. One of them commented “The longer we were in the pandemic, I just felt lower about myself and the people around me.” Depression has a big impact on our mental health, depending on the severity of it. Depression can be caused by different scenarios. With COVID-19, the depression was caused by the lack of social interaction, loss of jobs, financial struggles, or the loss of family members. With the impact of everything going on, the depression could be minimal or severe. A person could feel a little down, but still be able to find the good things around them. Severe cases would be, when they’re struggling to leave their room, eat, go outside, or socialize with others. And if the depression is worse, it could lead to suicide.
Suicide is a big deal. The average suicide in the United States is 14.5:100,000 in 2019. Suicide always has a reason behind it. During Covid, there were several occasions that caused a severe amount of stress and pressure on everyone. With the mixture of mental health issues, the suicide rate went up. For kids it was especially hard. Kids survive off of social interaction. It’s part of their growth process, and a major portion of that. Some kids already struggle with that portion of their lives, and have social anxiety. But with the added stress, their anxiety gets worse, and turns into depression. Some people just have thoughts about it, just ponder if it’s worth it. Worth not seeing their family’s and friends again, and then they're gone just as fast as they came. And when the thoughts linger, or are recurring, that's when they start thinking of how to pull it off.
Another way it leads to suicide is dangerous, or worrying, pieces of news being thrown in their faces constantly. Kids, and young adults, nowadays will watch anything that’s on the T.V. And when they hear and see all the violence and sickness it strikes them deeply. They won’t know how to handle it. They won’t understand what's going on. All they will know is that it’s scary and they don’t want to see it.
The solutions are simple. There are several ways you can get help if you have a mental illness. There are therapists you can see, helplines to call, and ways you can just express what you feel. Personally, I use music. I listen to angry, complaint rock when I’m angry, like Limp Bizkit, old Avril Lavigne, Evanescence, Flyleaf, We Are the Fallen, Korn, Halestorm, etc. When I’m sad I listen to some Dave Mathews, Beth Crowley, haunting Nine Inch Nails, etc. But most importantly, I listen to songs that get me into a good mood. Sometimes it’s inspirational, sometimes it's just goofy songs I listened to as a kid.
If you're religious, you can turn to God and ask him for guidance. If you don’t know what else to do and you’ve tried everything, look at a very cheesy poster of a cat hanging from a tree that says ‘Hang In There.’ There are natural ways to help yourself, some people use meditation, but exercise is also very beneficial. The adrenaline combined with the endorphins is the recipe to a ‘Feel good’ potion. You don’t even have to run, just walking thirty minutes straight will clear your head enough to help think rationally. I hope this article has given you some insight on why mental health is so important. It’s a topic that needs to be discussed.
Below is a list of hotlines you can call if you, or someone you know, is struggling. They will listen if you call. Even if it’s for someone you know and not yourself.
Child Abuse: 1-800-422-4453
Domestic Violence: 1-888-743-5754
Drug and Alcohol: 1-800-234-0420
Only the people can help give mental health the proper amount of attention it needs.