As the coronavirus pandemic rapidly sweeps across the world, it is inducing a considerable degree of fear, worry and concern. In our mental health terms, the main psychological impact to date is elevated rates of stress or anxiety. But as new measures are introduced – especially quarantine, lockdowns, social distancing, limited freedom and its effects on many people’s usual activities, routines, livelihoods and relationships – levels of loneliness, depression, domestic violence, financial stress, the feeling of being powerless and fear, harmful alcohol and drug use, and self-harm or suicidal behaviour are on the rise. In addition, with schools closed, there is a very real possibility of an epidemic of child abuse. Even with some of these restrictions being lifted as we move along, these leaves an aftermath of personal effects on our lives, both physically and psychologically.
The enormity of living in isolation, changes in our daily lives, job loss, financial hardship and grief over the death of loved ones has the potential to affect the mental health and well-being of many.
Even in this time of physical distancing, it’s critical to seek social support and connection with others. It’s also important to know the signs of anxiety, panic attacks, depression and suicide so you can easily identify them, not just among your family, friends and neighbors, but for yourself.