• Konstantina Dimitriou

How the Covid-19 Pandemic Affected our Mental Health

The COVID-19 Pandemic has long been believed to have a negative effect on people's mental health. Now a new study that studied people in 59 countries seems to have confirmed this theory.

Photo: newscientist.com

On March 11th, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the international outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Everyday millions of people are infected and some of them unfortunately die. Drastic measures are being taken around the world. Many countries are closing their borders and imposing social distances.

A year after the measures were imposed and regular normality looks like utopia. The pandemic has changed the way we learn, work, and interact. New reality, home-office, temporary unemployment, home education of children and lack of physical contact with family members, friends, and colleagues, have significantly affected our mental health.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology of psychological correlations in 59 countries, aimed to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and consequent social constraints or quarantines on the mental health of the world's adult population. A sample of 6,882 people (Mage = 42.30, 78.8% women) from 59 countries completed an online survey about various pandemic-related changes in life and psychological status. Of these participants, 25.4% and 19.5% reported moderate to severe depression and anxiety symptoms, respectively. Demographic characteristics (e.g., higher income country), COVID - 19 exposure (e.g., without confirmed symptoms of COVID - 19), government‐imposed quarantine level, and COVID‐19‐based life changes (e.g., having a hard time transitioning to working from home; increase in verbal arguments or conflict with other adult in home) explained 17.9% of the variability in depression and 21.5% in the symptoms of anxiety.

The COVID-19 pandemic has a significant impact on global mental health, as this wide-reaching study shows, so it is essential to ensure that mental health services reach individuals showing pandemic‐related depression and anxiety symptoms.

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