The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown have seen a rise in mental health challenges across the population. Additionally, the close relationship between mental health and physical health can’t be over-emphasized; the two have a symbiotic relationship.
We are inherently social beings, and this pandemic has put our basic instincts to the test.
This was made clear by a Canadian Survey where from April 24 to May 11, 2020, approximately 46,000 Canadians in an online questionnaire were asked how their mental health has changed since physical distancing began. Just over half (52%) of participants indicated that their mental health was either “somewhat worse” or “much worse”. Additionally, 88% of the participants experienced at least one symptom of anxiety in the two weeks before completing the survey. “Feeling nervous, anxious or on edge” was the most commonly reported symptom (71%), followed by “becoming easily annoyed or irritable” (69%) and “trouble relaxing” (64%).
The entire statistical overview of this survey can be found here.
In a society driven by hustle culture, we have been forced to take a step back and reflect on our mental well beings – issues that were previously disguised by our preoccupied selves are now resurfacing. So, while COVID occurrences continue to decrease in the country, we will have another crisis to deal with, the mental health crisis.
The pandemic has opened eyes to the emphasis we should have been placing on our mental health. We can predict that individuals will have awareness and visibility into their overall mental health picture at their fingertips. And a degree of ownership of their emotional well being learned through current circumstances.
Recognizing now that our mental health must be tracked proactively, individuals are and will continue to be, more aware of their feelings, thoughts, behaviours, which will eventually enable them to better equipped to manage stress and anxiety, by reaching out and getting support from the right people and resources.
Some Great Resources:
Tips to better alleviate your mental health when social distancing: https://medium.com/wadepthealth/social-distancing-and-mental-health-2b056eb9e144
Overcoming the struggles of dealing with the pandemic: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/09-04-2020-children-s-story-book-released-to-help-children-and-young-people-cope-with-covid-19
CAMH has provided a wonderful overview of how to manage your mental health during COVID: https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-health-and-covid-19/coping-with-stress-and-anxiety