The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns has negatively affected most people’s mental health for more than a year now and it does not look like it’s going to end any time soon.
Young adults have experienced a number of problems due to the pandemic, such as closing of universities and loss of income. A recent research showed that during the pandemic, a larger than average share of young adults, aged 18 to 24, reported sleep disruptions, symptoms of anxiety and/or depression.
The pandemic took a huge toll on young children who were confined to their rooms, attending online classes for many hours every day with barely any breaks, at an age where they are supposed to be out playing with their friends and socializing with other kids their age.
Throughout the pandemic, many people across the world have experienced job loss or income cuts, resulting in them finding a hard time to provide for their families. The limitations of working from home led to longer working hours everyday and even work on the weekends.
Many essential workers face a number of challenges, including high risk of coming in contact with the coronavirus than people working in other fields. Compared to nonessential workers, essential workers are more likely to get anxiety or depressive disorder.
A study also found that 18% of individuals who received a COVID-19 diagnosis were later diagnosed with a mental health disorder. Older adults who are more vulnerable to severe illness from coronavirus and have experienced increased levels of anxiety and depression during the pandemic.
As of June 2020, 13% of Americans reported starting substance use as a way of coping with stress related to COVID-19. According to the 2021 report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), around 275 million people used drugs worldwide last year during COVID-19 pandemic, up by 22% from 2010.
Human beings are social organisms and the sudden social isolation forced into us by the pandemic is one of the main, if not the main, reason for mental health disorder and it is now needed more than ever to be able to talk about one’s mental health to others normally and to provide help and support to each other in these trying times.
Regardless of age, the pandemic has affected all of us, physically and mentally. While we are stuck in our homes indefinitely, the frequent thought comes to our mind, ‘What am I doing with my life?’, ‘How much longer is this going to last?’. Therefore, as policymakers and world leaders continue to discuss further actions to reduce the burdens of the COVID-19 pandemic, it should be important to consider the increased need for mental health and substance use services.