COVID-19 and Mental Health: What We Know and Where We See It Heading
Updated: Jan 6
It’s no surprise that mental health has seen a rapid decline since the start of COVID-19. Rises in depression, anxiety, struggles with social engagement, worry, and stress are just naming a few.
What We Know
Everyone has been touched in some way by the effects of COVID-19. Over 5 million global deaths and around 760,000 in America have brought on a lot of fear and uncertainty, let alone grief for the families and friends of those who have lost their lives. (1)
Stress regarding finances, impact on education, job security, and living life the way we “used to” are common topics buzzing around. Therapy offices are at full capacity. It is difficult to find a therapist with openings. It has been an ongoing issue to provide for the influx of individuals seeking support for their mental health.
Trends coming out of recent research indicate high amounts of depression and anxiety, restlessness, and worry. Those suffering with addictions have little support in their recoveries and relapse rates are increasing.
Statistics: (Increase since January 2020)
Depression (52% in US)
Anxiety disorders (49% in US)
Sleep disorders (32% in US)
ADD/ADHD (23% in US)
Alcohol addiction (17% in US) (2)
Another trend I have personally seen is a tremendous increase in social anxiety. Even with those who were very outgoing and socially active before the quarantine began are now showing signs of social anxiety. People of all ages, genders and ethnicities are having trouble feeling confident in social situations, as they begin to venture out into their world again.
People have a hard time keeping up natural conversation and avoid going places that they used to enjoy mostly because they are not used to being in crowded places anymore. It feels awkward, it brings out their insecurities, and may make them feel exposed or vulnerable.
What’s more, research is indicating that it doesn’t look like we will go back to baseline any time soon.(2) The impact that Covid-19 has had on mental health has created a trickle-down theory which has taken many of us by surprise and hit us differently in so many ways.
Where We See It Heading
Although most of us may not be feeling “back to normal”, mental health support and recognition is at an all-time high. Here are some directions we see mental health going in our future.
· Teletherapy is likely to stay (love it or hate it)
· More expansive therapeutic knowledge in the field of Covid-19 and how to
specifically support you and your needs
· Insurances can be accommodating by covering telehealth visits with a simple
· Many employers are expanding what services and conditions they will cover in
· Covid-19 and its impacts aren’t going away any time soon
· We will likely continue to face grief of those we love and care for
· Mental health caregivers are working overtime (but we are happy to do it)
· Depression, anxiety, worry, stress and substance use are continuing to rise,
Useful Tips to Keep in Mind
· Do not wait until you or a loved one are in significant distress to reach out (I
cannot stress this enough)
· Research shows earlier intervention has the best outcome
· You are not alone
· Talk about it with someone you trust
· Rely on and expand your coping skills and daily self-care
· Safely socialize to keep from isolation
· Participate in activities that bring you a sense of purpose and accomplishment
· Being Covid-19 cautious does not have to mean being fearful
· Get outside for some sunshine therapy
· BREATHE and STRETCH your body
Download This Useful Chart To Help Stay On Top Of Your Mental Health
If you or someone you know is feeling the impact of Covid-19 on mental health, please reach out. The Wellness Counseling Group is here for you.
Call Today! 713-253-9612
The Wellness Counseling Group
1525 Lakeville Drive, #217
Kingwood, TX 77339
(1) U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021, Associated Press, HealthDay.com
(2) Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Benefits: 2021 Survey Results
(3) Office for National Statistics (UK data); Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US data)