COVID-19 pandemic is causing much more than just the physical damage to a person. It might have only infected a certain number of people but it has made billions of people stressed, leading to depression. The self-isolation, social distancing and extreme dietary and lifestyle changes are affecting the mental health of everyone whether or not he is suffering from COVID-19.
The clinical psychologists from the University of Washington’s Center for the Science of Social Connection have explained COVID-19 to be a major causative agent of clinical depression. Thus governments and policymakers should consider the mental health of all citizens in addition to their physical health alone.
The emotional components of depression include hollowness, sadness, irritability and mental exhaustion. Considering this current outbreak, it is normal for a person to experience any one or all of these emotional phases. This disturbed mental state can affect a person’s diet, sleep, attention and mood.
Most of people characterize depression as a “brain disease”. However, it is majorly affected by situational or environmental stress. Given this, the current lockdown, social isolation, and social distancing could make it worse for a person to feel positive and happy.
Considering the widespread of coronavirus, the stress has affected the people of all countries where it has reached. The unpredictable course of coronavirus is exhausting and if someone around a person is infected with the coronavirus, it adds even more pressure.
The increasing death tolls, unavailability of medical help, shortage of essentials and limiting to the houses, everything is making it worse. It makes people at more high risk of illness in addition to the coronavirus risk.
Social distancing is an effective tool to control the spread of coronavirus but humans are not designed to live without social interactions for long. There are many previous studies that confirm living in shelters make people more depressed. The same goes for those who are living alone or far away from families. The travel bans and self-isolation are making it impossible to live without stress.
For some people, finances are adding up to this stress. The pandemic has shaken the economy and many people have lost their jobs especially the daily wagers.
Research from the past suggests that increased unemployment eventually leads a person to financial insecurity which shows up as clinical depression and might even end up at suicide.
While all these COVID-19 related stress increases, it also increases the risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. It would take a long time to get out of this stressful phase even after the pandemic is over. Those who are already stressed might be caught up by immunological dysfunction and more diseases, making them suffer physically and mentally both.
There are many self-help guides available online most of which are helping. But what all these corona-affected countries need more is policy changes and relief measures on how to get over the economic recession and stress.
Public health campaigns targeting mental health might help. But what needs more to be changed is the public approach towards depression. It is normal to feel distressed and it is a humane feeling. Accepting it as a medical condition is no harm but beneficial for everyone. The self-denial would do no help and it would prevent everyone to seek medical assistance.
This COVID-19 related stress would not vanish if people don’t change their perception of depression and getting medical help. It needs social acceptance before even seeking medical help.