MENTAL HEALTH DURING COVID-19
All our life changed after Covid-19. We can even distinguish it as Pre and Post-Covid. COVID-19 pandemic and the resulted economic regression create various obstacles that causes a decline in the quality of living and created new barriers to people who had already been diagnosed with mental illness. Anxiety, Depression, and OCD are the most common mental health issues increased during Covid. This pandemic affected every single person, children, adults, men, women, disabled, everyone. We all are physically and mentally stressed. All are aware of physical health but what about our Mental Health?! To cope up with this pandemic period we need to keep good physical as well as mental health. Wondering how to acquire it, so here are we.
Hence what are the changes that happened with us?
- Children and teens have experienced several pandemic-related consequences. Such as closures of schools and colleges, no chances for social interaction, playgrounds, and physical activities, sharing and caring with friends and teachers who may contribute to poor mental health.
- Adults who faced losing of their jobs are associated with increased depression, anxiety, distress, and low self-esteem that may lead to higher rates of substance abuse disorder and suicide. During the pandemic, adults in households with job loss or lower incomes report higher rates of symptoms of mental illness than those without jobs or income loss.
- Research during the pandemic points to concerns around poor mental health and well-being for children and their parents, especially mothers. Many are experiencing challenges with school closures and lack of childcare. Women with children are more likely to report symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder than men with children (49% vs. 40%). In general, both before, and during, the pandemic, women have reported higher rates of anxiety and depression compared to men.
- Health workers became the only hope and that made them do overtime duties, without sleep and adequate food also not being able to spend time with their family causes severe mental health issues among them.
How we ventilate or cope with stress also matters. There are both positive and negative coping strategies. Sleeping a lot, improper schedule, disconnecting with people, working too much, anger outbursts and exhibiting violent behavior, overeating or under eating with no physical workout are the common negative coping strategies people using and lead to Depression, Anxiety, Panic Attack, OCD, Insomnia, Addictions and various other mental health issues.
EFFECTS ON CHILDREN
We all may think about children that how they got affected, they have nothing to worry about. But, look to your own family, at what time your child is waking up, how much time they are spending in front of the TV, are they taking meals at a proper time, how much is their playtime. They are also got affected by COVID-19 caused various mental health issues such as Depression, Insomnia, and Anxiety due to disruption in their routine, closure of schools, poor social interaction, exposure to mobile and news related to Covid. Young children are limited understanding of the pandemic with poor communication and coping skills started to exhibit various behavioral problems, irritability, decreased attention span, and a regression in development.
What are the Red tags?
- Increased screen time
- Irregular sleep and appetite
- Lack of interest in any physical- play, pleasurable activities
- Stay inside the room, spent most of the time in bed
- Declined academic performance
- Crying spell, adamant
Adolescence is an exceptional period in one’s life for developing social skills. Quarantine created such an environment where adolescents do have not had many options to spend their energy and to develop social skills. Self-isolation created depression or worries about the future, recurrent anger outbursts, media, mobile, and game addiction.
There are some remedies we can use both for children and teens which includes;
- Consider this time as an opportunity to increase interaction between family members.
- Children are learning from their parents. So all should restrict the screen time.
- Follow a daily routine
- Daily 1-2 hour physical exercise
- Avoid screen time 1 hour before bed
- Encourage your child to do group calls with friends and teachers
Most importantly understand your child, be their friend and spent time with them
COVID-19 causes occupational stress, job loss, and economic regression to all. Long quarantines affected the daily schedules. It caused disorganized and social isolation, fear about pandemic and future leads to Anxiety, Depression, OCD, and several other mental health issues.
- So focus on what you can control and prepare for the storm.
- Find pleasure in tiny daily activities, include pleasurable activities in your daily schedule
- Take it as an opportunity to build an interpersonal relationship with family members. Eat together, Exercise together, making meals together and so on.
- Create a daily routine and try to follow it.
- Recurrent updates regarding COVID statistics may enhance your anxiety level. Take it only from a limited source and limit your screen time for watching the news.
- Avoid excessive use of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine
- Seek professional help if you need
- Give importance to self-care, include activities of self-care in daily routine
- Focus on what you have and live in the present moment than concerning too much about the future.
PERSONS WITH MENTAL ILLNESS
Persons who had history or having mental illness may face newer challenges during Quarantine. They would have the same amount of stress as others and it will increase issues of mental illness. Assess to counseling and medication may become limited and social isolation will increase their issues. People with mental illness need regular support and medication as prescribed but quarantine creates limited accessibility. Online consultation will be a great support for them.
As we all know, we are going through a stressful period but waiting for the remedy to Covid may erase few years from our life span. So live the moment, be happy with what you can control, take a break, breath slow and we all will walk again.