A new study has shown that the mental distress caused due to the pandemic still continues to haunt people. At the peak of the pandemic in 2020, the average mental distress was nearly 11% higher than what it used to be before the pandemic. However, the situation started to improve with the availability of vaccines and other treatment options to handle the infection.
Study Shows Mental Distress Caused By Covid Still Continues
At this stage, most people hoped that things would return to normal levels. Even at this stage, the average mental distress among the general population continues to stay at the same level as it was at the peak of the pandemic.
The researchers used the General Health Questionnaire to assess the level of mental distress among the public, and it had 12 points related to mental health. This test is effective in analyzing minor issues related to psychiatric disorders among people. When the data from 2019 was compared to the data from 2020 and 2021, it found no difference between them. This clearly showed that people are still mentally stressed due to the pandemic.
Earlier research had indicated that people from the minority community were more affected due to the pandemic. Especially women from the black, Asian, and other minority groups were more affected than others during the pandemic. This trend continued even in 2021 when there were no lockdown and other restrictions in society regarding Covid infection. Vaccines and other treatment options are also readily available, and the number of cases is also on the decline in the last few weeks.
Researchers feel that policymakers should take such issues seriously and look into ways to reduce mental distress among the general population. Even though there are no visible symptoms of such distress, it can impact the overall health of the person in the long run and also lead to other mental conditions like depression and anxiety. Apart from that, it can also affect the overall lifestyle of the person and cause physical illness in the long run.
In the initial stages of the pandemic, the high levels of stress were justified as nobody had answers related to the pandemic situation. There was no vaccine available in the market, and the production of vaccines had not even started in most regions. There was no clarity on when and how the vaccines would be available for the public. The lockdown situation made things further worse as people lost jobs and faced a lot of financial problems. The overall economic situation was not good at the global level, and this increased the anxiety among people.
Even the number of cases was on the rise at that stage, and thousands of people died every day in the US alone due to the pandemic. Many people lost their near and dear ones due to the infection, which caused a lot of stress among the general population. However, when vaccines became available, things slightly turned better as the restrictions with regards to covid were eased, and people were allowed to move outside freely without any hassles.
The mental distress caused due to such a pandemic should subside slowly among the public. There is enough clarity about the pandemic situation, and we all know that Covid is not going anywhere soon, and we have to learn to live with the virus in the near future. The stress levels have not decreased among the general population in this situation, and especially women are more affected by the mental stress caused due to the pandemic. Researchers hope that the situation may improve in the next few months when the number of cases declines to low levels.