Mental Health During the Pandemic

Position Paper on Mental Health

Covid-19 was sudden and unexpected in most countries. The evolution of the virus has remained unpredictable, and such unpredictability is exacerbated by the heterogeneity of the healthy system globally. Due to the high virus’s spread, most nations went on lockdown as a containment strategy. The constant surge of the virus cases and the lockdown deepened concern over the pandemic’s mental health consequences. The pandemic’s unpredictability, uncertainty, and physical distancing led to social isolation and decreased family and social support (Mughal et al., 2021). These factors led to a considerable population’s increased prevalence of anxiety, depression, and mental distress (Moreno et al., 2020). Nonetheless, despite the virus’s grievous consequences, the U.S. government and the health system had no coordinated and concerted efforts to ensure that mental health issues were incorporated into the development agenda to reduce the national burden of mental disorders. Although detrimental, the pandemic presented an opportunity to replace the conventional way of mental health management with one that priorities high and urgent care for mental health challenges.  


With the Covid-19 increase, the economy deteriorated, causing unemployment, financial insecurity, and poverty. Most surveys indicated increased symptoms of stress and depression resulting from psychological stressors such as ordinary life disruption, fear of illness, and undesirable economic consequences (Gijzen et al., 2020). Additionally, for people with pre-existing chronic and mental illness, frequent exposure to covid-19 related stress increases the probability of mental health. Rates of suicide increased for young people between 20-30 years, highlighting the pandemic effect on young people (Javakhishvili et al., 2020). Survivors of the virus were also likely to demonstrate depression symptoms. The mental health impacts were most among communities of color. Blacks and Hispanics had reported higher mental illness symptoms such as anxiety and depression disorder than whites had. I had a relative diagnosed with the virus, which had detrimental effects on his physical and mental health. While he had family members’ support, the uncertainty of his health alongside inaccessible mental facilities worsened the situation.

 While the pandemic negatively affected mental health, it had some unexpected positive effects. For some, the social limitation was associated with mental health stability (Gijzen et al., 2020). The physical, social distancing probably reduced social contacts and increased meaningful connections. Additionally, individuals with higher education and working from home reported positive outcomes (Gijzen et al., 2020). Some workers prefer home working from home due to reduced commute time, autonomy, and greater efficiency. However, while there was an unexpected positive consequence, the economic, social, and mental effect nationally of the pandemic was negative.

The pandemic exposed the nation’s longstanding healthcare system. U.S. healthcare is massively privatized and is ill-equipped to deal with to respond adequately to emergencies. With the pandemic, the public health institutions could not handle the majority of the mental health challenges Moreno et al., 2020. As the virus continued to affect communities, U.S. mental care has failed to meet the patients’ needs. On the other hand, the then administration mishandled the prevention and containment measures by ignoring the severity of the virus and failing to enact sufficient screening protocol. While the III H.R 593 bill was enacted to deal with the situation, the pandemic had worsened the mental issue.

Primary care needs urgent and sustained mental health investment for mental health challenges. There is a need to rethink convectional mental health approaches. For Covid-19 cases, public health can include up-to-date information about infections rates, educative information, self-care, family support, and collaboration among agencies (Mughal et al., 2021). In the early stages, access to care might be limited. The treatment risks and benefits are vital, especially for patients with other conditions and medications. Community monitoring and mental health screening, particularly for those disproportionality affected, will mitigate the potential of long-term effects. The pandemic has presented an opportunity to replace the conventional way of mental health management that priorities high and urgent care for mental health challenges.  

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Javakhishvili, J. D., Ardino, V., Bragesj√∂, M., Kazlauskas, E., Olff, M., & Sch√§fer, I. (2020). Trauma-informed responses in addressing public mental health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic: Position paper of the European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ESTSS). European Journal of Psychotraumatology11(1), 1780782.

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