Mental health during a pandemic

With winter fast-approaching and COVID cases beginning to rise again, people are starting to wonder what the long-term effects of this virus and mentally challenging time are going to be. Could this all be over and forgotten by this time next year? Or will there still be complications ten years from now?

It’s no surprise that the world’s mental health has taken a toll from the virus and all of the restrictions in place due to it. Currently suicide rates are on the rise, along with rates of reported depression and anxiety. Not only that, but many people were starting to openly speak out on their struggle through the media. It was then becoming apparent that this lengthy pandemic, could start to become a severe issue.

One of the major effects of depression is the feeling of loneliness, which is something everyone felt on a personal level during the shutdown. Imagine: Stores and events closing world-wide, a stay-at-home order for a few weeks, not being able to go anywhere without a mask on your face, and numerous limitations on the extent of what we you’re able to do. No more going out with friends and family to concerts, parties, movies, and so much more. For the people who thrive from the company of others and look forward to spending time out with friends, this long halt can send them into a dark place.

“COVID-19 has very negatively affected not only my mental health, but my physical health as well. Most of the time I can’t hangout with friends or go anywhere and I feel pretty lonely. These past few months have been hard on me and my depression and I’ve also found out that being separated from people for so long has made my social anxiety even worse as well.” stated BASH senior, Jade Slaughter.

As far as people with anxiety, the panic people have gone into from having to sit at home and watch them lose their jobs and so much money due to the stock market fluctuation, but not being able to stop it, is catastrophic. Millions of small family businesses went under and the families lost their livelihood, and all they can do is sit back and watch. Anybody would get anxiety if forced to be in that position too. And as for people who do have it, wearing a mask for hours on end is one of the worst things to have to do. Your face is being trapped behind it and it causes stress levels to go up like crazy, but yet again, there’s nothing you can do.

But now one of the biggest issues to come with the pandemic is the winter. The winter is undoubtedly one of the most difficult seasons to get through. Yes, there are things to look forward to like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but what if even those get cancelled or severely limited because you can’t see your family due to certain COVID restrictions. Beyond that, the worst thing about winter is the gloom. One condition that not many people are aware of, but many people have, is Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as, SAD. How ironic. Seasonal Affective Disorder is brought on by the cold weather and the lack of sunlight that occurs in the winter, which may mess up sleep cycles as well and can potentially change someone’s mood entirely. This is something that is hard to deal with because there isn’t too much that anyone can do to help it, and especially coming from the last eight months of the world struggling mentally and financially, the winter has the opportunity to send us into another depression.

To top it all off, we just had the 2020 election. While Biden has been announced the winner, there is uncertainty until it is finalized. With the stress we all went through during the election process, Trump is now accusing democrats of voter fraud, and is fighting to keep his position in office. Of course this would be the year that things are prolonged and keeping people stressed about what’s to come. Americans lives have seemingly been put on hold for numerous months due to the pandemic and now hostility is bubbling over amidst the election. Many people are now worried about the transition process for Biden and how the country might react when it all unfolds.

This year has been, by far, one of the craziest years some of us may ever live to see. There have been innumerable events that have knocked our country down, and in some cases, our sanity. For now, it’s about how we handle things. People don’t normally get educated enough about topics like mental health and how traumatic events, like a pandemic, can affect them for a lifetime in some cases. What we do right now to ease the stress and tension in the world could save lives. Check on friends and family members. Do some research and educate yourselves more about mental health. And lastly, check on yourself. We are all going through this together and we need to remain hopeful for what’s to come as we head into this winter season.