Corona Virus (Covid-19) and its effect on Mental Health

Corona and its effect on Mental Health

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Corona and its effect on Mental Health

Newly recognized novel coronavirus, COVID‐19, was first reported in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. The COVID‐19 virus is now well-known  belong to the same family as SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS‐CoV).

Effect of Covid-19 on Mental Health

These are zoonotic infections thought to have originated from snakes, bats, and pangolins at the Wuhan damp markets .

The corona virus effect on mental health has rapidly extend across the globe leading to many infected people and several deaths especially of the elderly and vulnerable.

Even as efforts to control and limit the spread of the pandemic in the community are quite straight forward to follow, it seems that discrimination and fear have compromised the response efforts.

Corona and its effect on Mental Health

 In fact, the COVID‐19  has already speeded panic, as evidenced by the empty toilet paper shelves in stores, resulted in accusations against people of Asian races, and impacted people’s decisions to look for help when early symptoms start.

People have a propensity to feel anxious and unsafe when the environment changes. In the case of infectious disease outbreaks, when the cause or evolution of the disease and outcomes are uncertain, rumors grow and close‐minded attitudes prevail.

Mental and psychological effects of covid-19

Corona Virus (Covid-19) and its effect on Mental Health
Corona Virus (Covid-19) and its effect on Mental Health

 We know that the level of anxiety rose drastically when the SARS outbreak occurred. For example, in Hong Kong, about 70% of people spoken anxiety about getting SARS and people  believed that, they were more likely to catch SARS than the common cold.

Anxiety and fear related to infection can lead to acts of prejudice People from Wuhan were targeted and held responsible for the COVID‐19 outbreak by other Chinese people.

Corona and its effect on Mental Health

Chinese people have since been stigmatized internationally, for example, use of the term ‘China virus’ and the use of language such as ‘Wuhan virus’ and the ‘New Yellow Peril’ by the media.

Fear is a well-known (for centuries and in response to previous infectious outbreaks such as the plague), yet common response to infectious outbreaks and people react in many and individualized ways towards the perceived threat.

Hyper vigilance, for example, can occur because of fear and anxiety and, in severe cases, result in post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or depression.

Corona and its effect on Mental Health

Fear of the mysterious in this case, the spread of the disease and the impact on people, health, hospitals, and economies, for example, raises restless in healthy individuals as well as those with pre‐existing mental health conditions

Individuals, families, and communities experience feelings of hopelessness, despair, grief, bereavement, and a deep loss of purpose because of pandemics.

 Feelings of loss of control drive fear and uncertainty as the path of the pandemics is constantly evolving; so is the advice on the action to take to prevent the spread of a pandemic.

Corona and its effect on Mental Health

Perceived mixed messaging from government or health officials can also lead to public confusion, doubt, uncertainty, and fear.

People’s responses to fear and prejudice of uncertainty guide to negative societal behaviours  Uncertainty increases feelings of alarm resulting in behaviours targeted at falling uncontrollable situations which people fear.

For example, we have seen people clearing shelves of supermarkets resulting in worldwide shortages of food and essentials such as toilet paper.

This behaviour is supposed to occur for two reasons: one because the threat of COVID‐19 is apparent as a ‘real’ threat and likely to last for some time and second as a means to get back control.

 The present state of the COVID‐19 illness already paints a picture of expected and large‐scale quarantine – some of which are already going on.

 In the case of mass quarantine, experiencing social isolation and an inability to bear distress shoot up anxiety and fear of being trapped and loss of control, and the spread of rumours.

Corona and its effect on Mental Health

 Rumours fuel feelings of insecurity and are linked to issues such as panic buying and hoarding behaviour.

Anxiety related to this pandemic is also compounded by people being reminded of their own mortality that can lead to an ‘urge to splurge’, that is an increase in expenses as a means to control fear and regain power.

All the way through history, people have wanted to allocate blame to someone in order to cool their fear of disease outbreaks. This fear  is over and over again present with pandemics.

For example, the 2014 Ebola outbreak was considered an African problem resulting in inequity against those of African descent, while the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak in the USA saw Mexican and migrant workers beleaguered for discrimination.

Corona and its effect on Mental Health

In the past century, a number of severe outbreaks of influenza have developed in Southeast Asia, for example Avian H7N9 Influenza, 2013; H2N2 Pandemic, 19571958; H1N1 Pandemic, 1918 

 The ‘blame’ for avian influenza has centered on Asian countries, and we see some world leaders dubbing COVID‐19 the ‘Chinese virus’.

Since January 2020, The UK and the USA have reported increased reports of violence and hate crimes towards people of Asian descent  and an overall increase in Anti‐Chinese sentiment  as a consequence of the spread of COVID‐19.

Corona and its effect on Mental Health

Misinformation, public anxiety, and rumours must be addressed by Government and Health officials, that help lessen the adverse effects of stigmatization and help offer protection of susceptible populations.

 Ultimately, to assign blame in any circumstance can hurt everyone involved and can reduce individual and community flexibility both in the short and long term

 Fear and guilt can also arise as a result of being infected by the virus. Infected people, while also the target of discrimination, furthermore experience self‐blame or guilt.

Improvement from the negative impacts of this pandemic must comprise plans for addressing mental health issues for both public and healthcare professionals.

 Public health surveillance   during and after this pandemic must include plans for mental health surveillance to allow   for a proper   response to the anticipated mental health issues.

Corona and its effect on Mental Health

Impact of covid-19 on mental health is quiet obvious.

Fear and isolation of those who are sick or quarantined, collapse of social support structures, disruption of everyday life that we take for granted, and mental health impacts on health workers are real and probable outcomes of this pandemic.

Following the SARS outbreak in 2003, 77.4% of health workers concerned for patients during the outbreak had mental health issues ranging from anxiety, worry, depression, somatic symptoms, and sleep problems.

Corona and its effect on Mental Health

Despite the potential gravity and impact on the mental health related to the pandemic in the infected patients and the community at large, most healthcare professionals have received somewhat little training in the delivery of mental health care in the face of such pandemics.

Judicious mental health care and mental healthcare training need to be developed and implemented as part of proficient development activities

Corona and its effect on Mental Health

Conclusion

As with any infectious disease outbreak, it is essential for the Governments to take steps to put down the epidemic of fear that eventuates.

“How does Covid-19 affect mental health of people ?”

This is the responsibility of every Official to address this question to public.

Rapid communication about disease control and prevention is essential. Education campaigns should be launched to encourage public health messages that check the spread of the disease and encourage the public to take positive actions, such as reporting signs of illness to health professionals.

Sensible steps to manage our mental health during these difficult times include supervision of media consumption and accessing information which allows us to take realistic steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Corona and its effect on Mental Health

Accessing non‐official information can cultivate further, and often unnecessary, anxiety and panic.

More and more populations are being asked to stay in our homes for personal safety and the safety of others. Ensuring daily exercise activities, though for some of us in the confines of our home, have a positive effect on our mental health.

 As the physical distance from each other increases, finding habits to maintain our public connection is critical. Lack of interpersonal attachments is related to poor physical, emotional, and mental health. Setting up customary phone calls or video conferences with family, friends, and colleagues can link the gaps brought on by social distancing.

As social beings, we need each other. Covid-19 and mental health are mutually related. As we are being asked to act in an gradually more unsocial way in order to defeat the challenges of this pandemic, we must remember that we are all in this collectively and act accordingly.

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