The Psychological Impact of COVID-19 is taking a toll on each of us amid this pandemic. Individually, people are experiencing an emotional response based on the life changes occurring around them. We can remain socially united as a community by supporting one another during this global crisis.
The terms Social Isolation, Self-Isolation, Social Distancing, and Physical Separation have changed how we interact with one another. Many people have gone from working full-time to being furloughed or laid off. Others have gone from working in an office environment to being socially isolated working from home.
The Psychological Impact of COVID-19 can take a toll on your emotional health and the emotional health of loved ones. Common psychological symptoms and reactions may include: anxiety, depression, fear of leaving the house, excessive worry, increased substance use, loneliness, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, racing thoughts, social withdrawal, sleep issues, stress, and other symptoms. Moderate to severe symptoms include: suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, completed suicide, increased substance use and abuse, and post-traumatic stress responses. Focus on prevention if you know someone experiencing an increase in mental health symptoms. Listen with an empathetic ear, show care and compassion, and connect them with professional supports.
Grief and Loss
The general population is experiencing symptoms of depression, fear, and anxiety based on this global pandemic. Other families are experiencing a deeper psychological trauma if they have lost a loved one to the COVID-19 virus. Due to the health & safety of patients, hospitals have limited visitors that can enter the facility. In some cases, family members are not able to be present physically to console loved ones in their final moments. This is very difficult for the patient and their family members, leaving relatives with complex grief and trauma. Healthcare Providers have been going the extra mile to comfort patients. They have also connected family members through FaceTime to say their final goodbyes.
Continued Efforts to Protect Health Care Providers
To continue to curb the spread of the virus, we continue to practice social distancing. Consider the doctors, nurses, and essential workers that are risking their own health every day. These healthcare providers are working diligently to save lives. First responders also experience the psychological impacts of COVID-19 when they are not able to save the life of a patient. It is our civic duty to follow the recommendations of the healthcare community. These professionals continue to work each day to combat this global pandemic.
“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity… it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie
Words of Encouragement
Practice an Attitude of Gratitude, Live Your Life with Intention, and Purpose. This pause in our country has given us time to evaluate what is important. We now may have more free time that can be used to explore healthy self-care strategies. Consider new opportunities where you can make intentional decisions about your future.
We all wish to return to life as we knew it. The psychological impact is strong and impacts people of all ages. Make an effort to reach out to your neighbor. Say hello to someone when you pass them on your bike or smile at a stranger. Even a simple smile may be meaningful to a person that does not have any other social contact. Many people are experiencing loneliness, grief, and loss.
Focus on mental health wellness, check your psychological pulse, and monitor your symptoms. Develop a routine by getting enough sleep, maintaining healthy nutrition, and carving out time for exercise.
Create Virtual Gatherings
Be creative and increase social contact virtually with family and friends during this period of social isolation. We can reach out to family and friends by phone calls, text messages, or FaceTime. Schedule a virtual trivia night or dinner by using applications like Zoom, Houseparty, or Google Duo.
Quick Tips to Prioritize Your Mental Health Wellness
- Focus on the positive things within your control
- Exercise: walk, bike, practice yoga
- Practice healthy eating and drink water
- Take a break for fresh air and sunshine
- Keep in contact with family and friends
- Engage in hobbies and interests: Art, Journal Writing, Reading, etc.
- Decrease your exposure to news, social media, and television
- Practice good sleep habits
- Take your medication and vitamins if prescribed
- Focus on your personal quality of life
What will be your new normal? This is a question that will be answered over time and it will be different for each person. During this time, stay healthy, reach out to your support system, and monitor your psychological pulse.
Access Counseling and Supportive Services
Prioritize your mental health and manage the psychological impact of COVID-19. There are multiple ways to receive access to mental health and substance abuse counseling. Ask your Human Resources Department if they have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). These programs offer FREE Telehealth Counseling sessions for employees and their family members. Telehealth Counseling is also offered as a service by most private insurance companies. Contact a local Licensed Counselor to schedule a Telehealth Counseling appointment if needed. If you would like to schedule Telehealth Counseling with our office please call 386-449-8600 or by Email: intake@OceanVistaCounsel.com.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers a 24/7 free and confidential service -1-800-273-8255. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a free and confidential helpline for people struggling with addiction or mental health concerns – 800-662-4357. If you require immediate psychiatric intervention, please dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.