Continue the Conversation: COVID-19 and Mental Health

COVID-19 has opened conversations about personal hygiene and immune health. Though, an unexpected discussion it has started is the importance of mental health – especially in the middle of a pandemic.

As cities, states, and countries continue to manage and try to stop the spread of COVID-19 by enforcing strict quarantine and social distancing rules, the effects of the pandemic have taken its toll on people around the world. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 53% of adults in the United States reported their mental health has been negatively impacted due to the coronavirus.

Discussing the effects COVID-19 has had on people will help destigmatize talking about mental health, reaching out for help, and seeking treatment regarding mental health, as well as shed light on the current stressors of the very people who work to help take care of our communities.

The pandemic has affected mental health workers, front-line health workers, alongside everyone else. The Texas Tribune highlights in an article how the widespread grief caused by the coronavirus has stretched to “counselors and therapists, who have to take into account their own mental health while serving clients.” For those on the front-line, who not only run the potential of risking their own lives but the lives of their loved ones, the stress of the pandemic has caused a surge of staff in major Texas hospital systems to reach out for mental health support.

Mental Health is not just about the negative side of things, though. While highlighting the struggles those of us may be going through, it is important to be reminded that there are good things to have come out of this pandemic, too. Many people around the world have found new hobbies, discovered new interests and tried out new lifestyles during the quarantine.

One of the many ways people have tried to keep normalcy during the pandemic is by spending time online with friends and family.

Anthony Reilly, University of Houston senior, started a Discord dedicated to gaming where he and his friends can stay connected.

“Because so many of us are distance-learning and live in different parts of the state, I thought it would be a good idea to have a place where we can still get together, play games, watch streams and chat while being so far away.”

The pandemic has changed the way we live life – it has changed us. Let’s keep having open conversations when things get difficult, discussing mental health to fight the stigma, and educate ourselves about what is affecting the people in our lives.

Interviewees: Celine Miller and Adebayo Gbakinro

Since the start of quarantine, the U.S. has seen an increase in reports from people who say their mental health has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has caused people to lose their jobs, family members, and friends, and significantly affected what used to be “the norm.” Being anxious and worried, especially during a time like this, is normal. The statistics show that those who may be struggling right now aren’t alone. With data provided by the CDC (taken from June 24-30), check out these visualizations on those whose mental health has been affected by the pandemic. Hopefully, this data can help normalize and validate how people are feeling during this time.

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