Psychological impact of the Covid-19 pandemic

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Annie Spratt

The pandemic has impacted the population greatly in terms of mental health. Read how in a piece by Allison Foos.

Allison Foos, The Carroll News

The Covid-19 pandemic has been dominating our lives since January of 2020. Many people were impacted in ways they did not know were possible. No one saw this pandemic coming, nor did most people ever imagine their lives would be put on lockdown, completely isolated from their loved ones.

From constantly checking the CDC for health updates to worrying about losing your job to checking in on the health of loved ones, the pandemic had our minds in a restless state. Our days seemed to be on a loop which often consisted of constant worry, anxiety, depression, fear and uncertainty. Who could we trust? Which news source had the most accurate and reliable information? When would the world be safe again?

The world we knew and loved was no more; it felt as though our lives were suddenly flipped upside down. Society went from concerts, parties, large family gatherings, sports, etc. to not knowing if it was safe to hug your best friend or even your mother. This loss of control and gain of constant uncertainty took a major toll on the mental health and well-being of society.

Because when no one knew when life would be “normal” again or what that “normal” would look like, feelings of fear and anxiety increased”

— Medical News Today

Research conducted by the CDC concluded that 40% of people reported at least one difficult mental health condition as a result of the pandemic. The conditions most often included anxiety, depression, increase in thoughts of suicide and sometimes a new or increased use of drugs or alcohol.

Anxiety is a common mental health condition to begin with, and the pandemic heightened feelings of anxiety to a new extreme. Scientists found new patterns of behavior associated with anxiety from the pandemic and even gave it a name – Covid-19 Anxiety Syndrome. Symptoms include a combination of avoidance, obsessive symptom-checking, obsessive worrying and constant threat-monitoring. Additionally, many people experienced anxiety about the never-ending uncertainty we faced every single day. Because when no one knew when life would be “normal” again or what that “normal” would look like, feelings of fear and anxiety increased according to Medical News Today.

Depression rates increased as a result of the pandemic as well. The pandemic primarily caused depression and a sense of hopelessness due to job loss, a halt in education, isolation and nearly constant rising death tolls. The combination of worrying about how you will afford to pay your bills, being trapped inside without many of your loved ones and watching the news report heart-breaking statistics of those who lost their lives to Covid-19 led to a very depressing year for many.

A common coping mechanism for the extreme psychological impact of the pandemic was an increase in use of drugs and alcohol. Medical News Today reported that 25% of young adults stated they either started using these substances or increased their previous use of them. 

As a result of the increase in anxiety, depression and substance use, many people sadly considered suicide. According to research provided by the CDC, one in four adults aged 18-24 reported serious consideration of suicide in June of 2020 due to the pandemic. The overwhelming physical and psychological effects of the Covid-19 pandemic unfortunately, but understandably, became too much for some people to handle.

These psychological effects are not to be taken lightly. If you or someone you know have experienced or are experiencing any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to reach out for help. These symptoms and conditions are challenging and demanding for anyone. No one is alone in these struggles.

John Carroll students, the university counseling center offers various services and resources to help you through struggles such as these and endless others. You are encouraged to take advantage of this resource if you have the slightest inkling that it will benefit you in any way.

National suicide prevention helpline: 800-273-8255

Substance abuse and mental health services administration national helpline: 800-662-4357