The Covid-19 pandemic has a greater impact on people’s mental health in many parts of the world. This has prompted governments to institute various responses depending on the severity of the situation. The experience, the stigma, physical distancing and discrimination are major contributors to the mental health problems. Covid 19 has led to job loss, depression, insomnia and anxiety. These are the main factors that affect the community resulting in mental health issues.
But the extent of the impact varies depending on the individual country. Countries with weak mental health have borne the brunt and urgently need mental health education. For instance, the pandemic has resulted in more depression, anxiety, and stress disorders in sub-Saharan African countries.
The spread of the virus exacerbated anxiety in the world population. It has affected many people and left them mentally unstable. In some cases, it has led to stereotyping as well as discrimination. It has made people more anxious about the future – resulting in a weakened immune system. This has further increased the chances of contracting the virus.
Because it is a new disease, people tend to follow the news about the virus very closely. This has further increased anxiety. Most of the news about covid 19 is always distressing and increases anxiety levels in those who consume them. According to mental health professionals, there is a need to avoid exposure to negative news and promote healthy behavior. The young people are the most affected. They are more anxious about the pandemic because they get more information on social media.
The impact of Covid 19 has different effects on different groups of people. Women are the most affected group and are at an enhanced risk of depression. Although the mortality rate is common in older women, those between 21-40 years are more prone to depression because they are concerned about the virus’s economic impact and future consequences.
Contracting covid 19 comes with a financial implication that may be too heavy to carry. Family people are worried about providing for their families if they contract the virus. It causes stress and is associated with the ever-rising chronic illness. People with preexisting conditions feel more vulnerable, which further enhances stress.
So what should the government do to mitigate community mental health impact?
Stress, depression and anxiety reduce the chances of recovery if the victim gets infected. Therefore, it is the responsibility of governments and health authorities to provide the infrastructure that will help people feel less vulnerable. They must refute rumors to reduce the effect of misinformation. Further, governments should provide adequate protective equipment, hand sanitizers, masks and personal hygiene products to reduce the impact of the pandemic. Besides, they should help people remain optimistic and reduce psychological damage caused by the pandemic.
Governments must work hard to reduce the number of infections and mortality to reassure the populous. They must further increase counseling to reduce the psychological damage and create positive thoughts to reduce depression. Lastly, governments must find a way to encourage hygienic practices and use technology to assess the impact and level of stress, depression, and anxiety.