Mental health During an Outbreak

It is no secret that the corona virus is sweeping the nation. Who would have thought a flu like virus would be so deadly and impactful on our society? COVID-19 is definitely making an impact on our everyday life and daily routines, but it also making our mental health suffer. The fear of the unknown is definitely in full effect during this pandemic. No one is exactly sure what will happen. All we know is to stay home, wear a mask, wash your hands, and not to gather in crowds. This could be nerve racking for anyone, but especially people with mental heath issues. Anxiety on everyone is through the roof at this point. Constant worrying about friends and family, neighbors and even pets. Unsure about returning to work, or even if there will be work. College students are at an all-time high battling with this pandemic. Graduations and every “last time” taken away. The fear of not being able to get a job when this is all over. Kick in the sadness and depression. Ending college in general is a sad time for the graduating class, but to have it striped from you months sooner is an all time low.

This is a very stressful time for everyone, remember you are not alone. Fear and anxiety can be strong in adults and children during this chilling time. Stress during an outbreak can include fear and worry, changes in sleeping or eating patterns, difficulty concentrating, worsening mental health conditions, increase use of drugs or alcohol. Although everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Take care of yourself and your community. Checking in on friends and family can help you cope with stress, anxiety, and depression. It can also help others cope as well. The COVID-19 outbreak and the result of the economic downturn has negatively affected many people’s mental health and created barriers for people already suffering with mental health problems and substance use disorders. Nearly half of Americans have reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted since the coronavirus outbreak. As the pandemic wears on it is likely that the mental health burden will increase. Measure to slow down the spread of the virus, such as social distancing and business and school closures an lead to greater isolation and distress issues. Research links social isolation and loneliness to poor mental health. Mental health effects resulting from worrying or stress related to corona virus was higher in those sheltering places than those who were not. Negative mental health effects due to social isolation may be particularly among households with older adults and adolescents.

Poor mental health due to working in the frontlines is also a huge burden on their mental health. With increased anxiety or mental illness. I decided to speak to speak with my cousin Shannon who is working on the front lines about this issue. She said there is definitely an increase in worry in her household. She works a lot and was transferred from the doctor’s office to the hospital when the outbreak started. She told me they do take extreme precaution like wearing masks all day, changing scrubs before and after her shift, and taking the temperature of everyone who enters the hospital. She said that eases her mind a little but she also has the fear of never knowing. She sees the effects that the corona virus has on people and their families. It also affects her anxiety because she has to go home to her family where she has children. She definitely takes precaution when entering her home and when around her family. She believes that even after the pandemic people will still be coping with mental health issues.

I also decided to interview my roommate Kelsey. She gave me her perspective as a senior who was supposed to be getting ready for graduation. She said she knew around graduation time and after she was going to be sad, but never thought it would be like this. She told me that it would ease her mind knowing she got to finish the school year off with her friends and experience all her lasts while in Bloomsburg. The outbreak has affected her senior year but also her mental health. She said her stress has been at an all-time high while transitioning to online classes. She hates not knowing what could happen with this pandemic and wants it all to be over. She also gets anxiety when she thinks about her dad and him going to work. Her dad is a cop for Hazleton, where the outbreak has been high in positive cases. She doesn’t like feeling like something could happen. I think we can all agree with Kelsey she says she wishes this was all over.

Covid-19 is doing more than just effecting our health. It gives us a constant worry feeling that is sometimes hard to get rid of. There are steps you could take to help ease your mind and body during these unsettling times. Remember to talk to friends and family, keep busy, and try not to worry. Check in on older people, college and high school seniors, and your community. Before we know it, this will end as quick as it came. Stay positive and stay healthy.

The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use

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