Covid-19 & Mental Health: What Happened?
The effects of COVID-19 can be seen across the world. The instant reaction for many countries, including Europe, was to shut down and isolate citizens from each other. Slowing the spread of the virus to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed was and still is one of the goals. But the mental health challenges of lockdown are increasing, and without attention, can lead to dire consequences.
Synthesized from interviews from two clinical psychologists, we detail the challenges individuals and the mental health care system face. Although from Spain and Sweden, countries with drastically different approaches to COVID-19, both psychologists paralleled ideas on the issues we are facing now.
What challenges are individuals facing?
Mental health challenges during COVID-19 mainly take shape in feelings of loneliness and lack of motivation. This can eventually progress into deeper forms of depression and anxiety if not attended to. Those with existing disorders also have reduced access to their treatment since physical sessions are being canceled. Alternatives such as online therapy can be an option, but the majority does not share positive feedback towards it.
The issues appear to be the same across Europe, but mental disorders are individualized, and no one is the same to another. Overall, people seem to be grieving the idea of “normal”. What once was is no longer there, and we are unsure if things will ever go back to normal or what is to come next.
What challenges is the mental health care system facing?
Although psychological issues are on the rise, it would appear that mental health care is decreasing. In a field already scarce of resources, professionals are finding it harder to reach patients if they are not willing to maintain treatment. With constantly being overwhelmed by pandemic news and social medic, it is hard to remind patients to keep things within grasp. The duration it takes to get help is longer, and administrative duties pile up along the way. But this is not only seen in psychological care, but in the health care field in general.
Officials in the industry need to begin asking themselves what is most important to address, how best can we help our patients, and what do we need to do to sustain psychological care.
It is a difficult time for all affected by COVID-19. Individuals should rely on a strong support system. Seek out help for your well-being when in the initial stages, before turns into something drastic. This way we can effectively move through this pandemic together, because it will pass.