COVID-19’s Impact on Mental Health

Carolyn Twomley, staff writer

The outbreak of COVID-19 has paused society. The once crowded streets in towns across America became desolate in a matter of days as governors began to issue stay at home orders for their states and plead with citizens to follow social distancing guidelines. Social isolation has given an abundant amount of time for learning new hobbies, watching new shows or movies and home projects.The increased time at home may seem nice at a glance, but the prolonged period in which we are forced to limit social interaction can take a toll on mental health.

Prior to the eruption of the virus, we would interact with numerous individuals in a given day. The sudden restrictions of the environment that we have become so accustomed to has led to feelings of displacement and the possibility of loneliness. This loneliness can potentially lead to greater issues, including the development of mental illness. 

In an article published by Insider which evaluated how mental and physical health is impacted by social isolation, it was revealed that “social isolation is associated with depression, cognitive decline, heart troubles, and a weakened immune system.” The risk of these health complications is increased because of unhealthy lifestyles and changing sleep patterns that individuals are developing during this period of confusion. The loss of structure that many thrive off of is also a large contributor to the negative physical and mental alterations being experienced. Without a provided schedule to stay on track, our minds begin to wander and develop negative thoughts, making the possibility of this all ending seem impossible. This is one of the main contributors to the frequent stress being felt by many. The lack of control we feel we have over the outcome doesn’t help to calm our minds either.   

With the never-ending stream of disappointing news concerning the return to normal life, the light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t look like it is within reach. Using activities to pass the time, such as reading or exercising, can be helpful in curing the cabin fever that many are feeling. Staying in contact with people you are no longer seeing on a day to day basis can assist in introducing an aspect of familiarity into your day. Everyone is encountering these same unexpected roadblocks. If we all stay strong and don’t let the isolation get the better of us, things may just start to feel normal again.