Very few lives have been left unaffected by the horrors of COVID-19 PANDEMIC. People, especially healthcare workers, those with underlying conditions, and children, the impact, has been really profound.
Researchers from the University of York’s Centre for Reviews and Dissemination and the Mental Health Foundation carried out a systematic study on the pandemic’s toll on people’s mental health.
The authors write that if we learn from the early pandemic months, we can prepare for the future. The study examines high rates of depression, anxiety, burn-out, and post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD persistent among medical staff and healthcare workers.
Studies Examine Adverse Mental Health Impacts Of COVID-19
The lead author of the study Dr. Noortje Uphoff says that this study explains to us the importance of extending our support to the mental health of frontline workers and any other vulnerable groups.
The study is a synthesis of 25 reviews that were performed during the early COVID-19 pandemic months. A group of six healthcare experts from the UK shared their experiences with this study’s researchers.
The University College London’s Dr. Jo Billings who wasn’t involved said that the study shows a profound and serious effect on mental health and she added that this study gives us the assurance that the negative impact is going to endure.
Over 19 of the reviews were focused on health care workers. In 5 studies, the focus was on children and adolescents. In one study, they focused on homeless people, and two studies were focused on COVID-19 patients.
This study explored many people’s experiences from several countries. In every study, the researchers included China, where two studies were strictly focused.
Dr. Uphoff noted that healthcare workers may be much more prone to negative mental health results because of stress from the pandemic. There are also numerous indicators that their mental health was adversely affected due to frontline working in the face of the deadly outbreak of the virus.
Twelve months after the COVID-19 outbreak, healthcare workers were at a major risk of impacting their mental health negatively, a risk almost 6 times high. 30% of patients closely exposed to the coronavirus experienced emotional exhaustion after two years.
Lockdowns and quarantines have resulted in higher consumption of alcohol, PTSD, stress disorders, and insomnia. They were reported highly among healthcare workers.
Dr. Billings said that it becomes hard to track their mental health condition without burdening them even further. She said that these workers are not willing to speak up. The stigma around mental health still prevails and there is a need to create a culture where people can have an open discussion about mental health.
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The researchers found a link between lockdown and constant pandemic worry to higher PTSD risk, adjustment issues, stress disorder, and grief in adolescents and children.
Around 19% to 37% of children and adolescents experienced anxiety and 35% to 44% experienced depression. 6% of them experienced PTSD symptoms, 17% reported acute stress disorder and 40% had psychological distress. According to the authors, children and adolescents were exposed to symptoms of depression and anxiety following sudden changes in school and household and social distancing.
The scientists examined children suffering from cystic fibrosis and they found a lower rate of anxiety compared to other children. On the other hand, such children’s parents experienced higher levels of anxiety and depression.
In patients who contracted COVID-19 and had underlying health conditions, their anxiety ranged between 40% to 82%. It was 50% for depression.
The researchers brought together a six-hospital panel of health workers for a two-hour review. The panel emphasized that support from colleagues and cooperation, communication in the workplace among other things are very important. Where this lacked, higher levels of stress were reported.