What impact has the Coronavirus and Lockdown had on mental health?

Coronavirus was believed to have started in a market in Wuhan in China, the evidence is inconclusive, but it appears to have started from an animal.

The Covid-19 virus has spread worldwide and has been monitored in the UK since March 24th. The virus has an r rate of 1:3 meaning that it can infect 3 people for every person that has the virus.

Symptoms of the Coronavirus include “a fever above 38c, a dry, persistent cough, tiredness and a general feeling of being unwell.  it has now been recognised that there many other symptoms to, so it is advisable to check with 111 in any case and isolate yourself for 14 days .

The government, on the advice of the scientists, decided that a strict lockdown needed to be put in a place to restrict the spread of the virus. Most UK businesses were closed and only the essential retailers remained open.

Since the lockdown was first imposed, the UK have had a total of 39,904 recorded deaths, but is estimated to be over 65,000 according to a report.  and 281,661 recorded cases, an updated result can be found here (link)

The aim of the lockdown was to “reduce reproduction of Covid-19” from 3 to below 1. Now,the UK the Coronavirus reproduction rate is said to have a rate of between 0.7-0.9 and restrictions of the lockdown are starting to be relieved.

What effect has the pandemic had on mental health?

A new study was published in a journal medrvix(link) that shows that the isolation period has caused anxiety, depression and an huge impact on people’s emotional and mental wellbeing. The tests were carried out online through social media.

Five tests were carried out on participants over the age of 18 . The tests were:

  1. Whether the subject was experiencing coronavirus symptoms
  2. Whether the subject was in a group that was vulnerable to SARS-CoV-2
  3. Whether the subject was an ‘essential worker’
  4. Whether the subject was in isolation because of COVID-19
  5. The community interactions that the subject was experiencing

Source: https://www.news-medical.net

The results from the dataset of 600 people were astonishing.

1 – Over a quarter were being treated for emotional issues, such as changes in mood, neurotic disorders, stress related disorders

2 – 14% had physical symptoms related to mental health conditions.

3 – 46% were worried Covid-19 would affect their livelihood.

4 – Essential workers were a third less affected by mental conditions.

The results also show that people who were isolating prior to the lockdown, were more prone to anxiety and depression. However, there was not any major difference between the more vulnerable adults in the population.

Two-thirds of the group felt that the pandemic had actually helped them, and people were kinder. This shows the more positive mental health side of the pandemic.

The overall conclusion from the study shows that people in work were happier than the people in isolation. However, the study cannot be a true representation until further tests are carried out.

What are the effects of isolation on children’s social wellbeing?

A study was carried out in 2015, prior to the Coronavirus outbreak to see the effects of isolation in children aged 5, affects the chances of developing mental health issues in adolescence. The two ages were aged 5 and aged 12

The results concluded that children with ADHD or other attentive behavioural issues, were more at risk to become more socially isolated at aged 12, and that children without these difficulties were at less risk.

What does this mean for the isolation?

Public Health England (2015) have put children and adolescence as one of the high risk groups, for developing social interaction problems at a later stage in life due to isolation. However this can be overcome by parents emotionally supporting their children during this difficult time.

What is emotionally supportive parenting?

Emotionally supportive parenting can be seen to “halt aggression which can help in later life”. The parent can help the child by equipping the child with strategies with how to deal with the anger or sadness. An example of this could be by reading a book and talking to the child about how the character feels and how they could have reacted in that situation.

How can you recognise mental health issues in children?

The NSPCC have set out guidelines, that may show that your child is suffering from issues. These are:

  • sudden mood and behaviour changes
  • self-harming
  • unexplained physical changes, such as weight loss or gain
  • sudden poor academic behaviour or performance
  • sleeping problems
  • changes in social habits, such as withdrawal or avoidance of friends and family.

In these difficult times, these changes will not be as prominent as social interaction is hidden, and academic performance cannot be measured in the usual way.

How can you protect your mental health?

Be careful what news you read

Reading heaps of news about coronavirus has prompted the uneasiness to most people in the UK. Having extensive stretches from news sites and web-based life has played a big role in helping him to deal with his nervousness.

  • Remember that not all news sites are reputable.

Remain associated with people

Keeping in contact with those you care about will assist with keeping up great psychological well-being during significant stretches of self-detachment.

The ways you can  do this, is by phoning, social media, email, Zoom, Teams and by using the range of apps available.

Using these resources will help you feel more in touch with your friends and family.

Anxiety UK recommends rehearsing the “Apple” procedure to manage uneasiness and stresses.

  • Acknowledge: Notice and recognize the vulnerability as it rings a bell.
  • Pause: Don’t respond as you typically do. Try not to respond by any means. Respite and relax.
  • Pull back: Disclose to yourself this is only the concern talking, and this evident requirement for sureness isn’t useful and a bit much. It is just an idea or a feeling. Considerations are not articulations or realities.
  • Let go: Let go of the idea or feeling. It will pass. You don’t need to react to them. You may envision them coasting ceaselessly in an air pocket or cloud.
  • Explore:  Notice your breathing and the impressions of your relaxing. Notice the ground underneath you. Glance around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can contact, what you can smell. At that point move your focal point of consideration regarding something different – on what you have to do, on what you were doing before you saw the concern, or accomplish something different – carefully with your complete consideration.

In summary, the Coronavirus has had an impact on both adults and children within the UK, with feelings of anxiousness and depression. There are ways that can help including limiting of reading news channels, doing breathing exercises and following Anxiety UK’s, “Apple” guidelines.

If you would like a free telephone consultation.

Please contact Ann-Marie on 07775 918572 or email ann-marie@tlccounselling.co.uk

The website is www.tlccounselling.co.uk.

References:

https://www.news-medical.net/news/20200430/COVID-19-lockdown-affecting-UK-adult-mental-health.aspx
https://www.bbc.com/news/health-52443108
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4733108/