THE MENTAL HEALTH IMPACT OF COVID-19

How has COVID-19 Impacted Mental Health?

It’s been months since the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdown began. In some ways, it could be argued that we should all be used to this “new normal” by now. However, for the majority of people in the UK, this is simply not the case. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has impacted our mental health in more ways than one. Read on to find out just how we have been affected, and the steps you can take to keep yourself healthy.  

How common is poor mental health in the UK?

According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of people suffering from depression in the UK has doubled since the beginning of the pandemic. Depression can be caused by triggers of sadness, anxiety, stress, or anger and can occur in anyone at any point in their lives. During this pandemic, 84% of adults in the UK feel that COVID-19 has impacted their wellbeing and have shown symptoms of depression.  Whilst policymakers are trying their best to control the virus, they also need to consider the impact on the human mind especially when deciding what comes next for Britain.

Surveys of more than 3,500 people were carried out by the Office for National Statistics showing that the number of people in the UK suffering from depression has almost doubled since the beginning of the pandemic. Out of these, only 3.5% have seen any improvements in their mental wellbeing since. Moreover, certain groups are more likely to experience symptoms than others. These groups include young people, key workers, women, disabled people, and those who are unable to afford an unexpected expense like a funeral. Unsurprisingly, young people aged 16-39 saw the greatest increase in depression as they worry about school, job security and their families.

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What is causing the increase in poor mental health in the UK?

Being in a pandemic takes extra mental energy and sometimes we just don’t have that energy to give. The dramatic deterioration of the nation’s mental health has been linked to several factors including social isolation, bereavement, and financial insecurity.  The realisation of how much time has passed since the beginning of lockdown may also cause feelings of stress and anxiety. It’s an uncertain time and uncertainty can often have a negative impact on our mental wellbeing. Moreover, even as places to start to reopen after months of lockdown, the end may still seem a long way off. 

How to take care of your mental health

With all that’s happening, it’s no surprise that the UK population are experiencing increased feelings of anxiety and stress. However, one thing is for sure, it’s something we're all going through together and we will eventually come out on the other side. Until then, there are many simple ways to look after your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

 

  • Take care of your physical health

Just like your mental health, it’s so important to look after your physical wellbeing.  Get outdoors, go for regular runs, or walks and continue to bring some normality back into your life. Eat a healthy and balanced diet and try to limit your alcohol consumption. Check out our previous blog focusing on sleeping better during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Focus on the positives

Maybe you no longer commute two hours to and from work or you’ve been able to video chat with old friends. Maybe you have simply spent more time with your family.  There are positives in everything, even a global pandemic.

  • Stay connected

Next, stay connected with your friends and family. They are all going through this too. Not to mention, it’s good to introduce some normality back into our very abnormal lives.

  • Go easy on yourself

As humans, we often struggle to adapt to change, especially when it’s so drastic. Try to understand that your feelings are normal and you’re not alone in feeling them. However, if you need to talk to someone, that’s ok too. Whether it be friends, family, or a medical expert. Reach out for help if you need it.

 

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Finally, though it’s important to stay informed on the global pandemic, having a non-stop stream of media headlines and bad news is not good for anyone’s mental health. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, switch off your notifications and turn off the news. You’ll be grateful for the peace and quiet.

If you feel like you consistently struggle with depression and anxiety, we can help. At London Doctors Clinic, we can support you with any areas of mental health and discuss any symptoms of depression or feelings you may have. Our dedicated doctors will guide you every step of the way and if more expertise is needed, will refer you to a private specialist.

If you need emergency support, please go to your local A&E or call NHS 111 (in England). You can also contact the following crisis support hotlines:

  • Samaritans – 116 123 (24/7, 365 days a year)
  • SANEline – 0300 304 7000 (6pm – 11pm, 365 days a year)