How COVID is Straining Mental Health in the San Fernando Valley and What to Do

The COVID-19 pandemic has put strain on households, communities, and the whole world. This has caused an increase in mental health disorders such as stress, anxiety, and even depression.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put strain on households, communities, and the whole world. This has caused an increase in mental health disorders such as stress, anxiety, and even depression. Uncertainty of the future, stressful current events, loss of income, changes to our routine, and concerns over our physical health can all cause stress or other mental health issues. At NAMI San Fernando Valley, we’re passionate about supporting the mental health of our community, and this pandemic has created a need for additional support for many residents.

The stresses and uncertainties of coronavirus may feel heavy on your shoulders, but this is not a burden you need to carry alone. We offer community mental health support to help residents get the help they need during these trying times and beyond. We also offer Youth Mental Health Programs in San Fernando Valley to help your loved ones get the help they need too. 

How COVID is Harming Mental Health in the San Fernando Valley 

When looking at the effects of coronavirus on mental health, it’s important to look at the effects of social or lifestyle changes caused by responses and situations stemming from the virus. The exact effects of COVID-19 on the body and mind are still being understood, but the effects of quarantine, fears of infection, and the other stressors that come with a global pandemic are more easily understood. 

For example, in a recent study, Healthline found that 49% of respondents were facing anxiety or depression which is a drastic increase from the 37% reported before the pandemic [1]. 

Additionally, people who were regularly receiving mental health services before the pandemic may have been cut off from these vital services during quarantine. Facilities offering mental health support for adults may not be seeing patients currently, which puts stress on the patients who need these services and their caregiving family members whose mental health was likely positively influenced by a respite from caregiving activities while their loved one was in a mental health program. The individual in need of mental health support may struggle when disconnected from their services, and their caregiving loved one may also struggle with an increased workload of caregiving responsibilities [2].

The Pandemic is Harming Mental Health for Those Who Haven’t Previously Struggled with Mental Health Disorders 

Even for those who do not typically struggle with mental illness, the circumstances and difficulties of the pandemic can be taxing on mental wellbeing. Loss of income and routine can be stressful for anyone, and the isolating feelings of quarantine can result in increased levels of pandemic stress. One study found that quarantine can harm mental health for individuals who self-isolated during the pandemic’s beginning in December 2019 in several ways. 

Self-isolation and quarantine resulted in mental health struggles such as:

  • PTSD Symptoms
  • Avoidance
  • Depression
  • Insomnia 
  • Anger
  • Increased Anxiety
  • Frustration 

The same study found that healthcare workers were susceptible to greater levels of post-traumatic stress, exhaustion, and detachment symptoms. In a previous SARS outbreak, the same study found a positive association for alcohol dependency symptoms in healthcare workers who actively faced healthcare frontlines of the outbreak [3].

Still, individuals who have a history of depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders are more likely to struggle with the negative effects of coronavirus on mental health [3]. Additionally, the feelings of isolation, depression, financial stress, and anxiety that can come with pandemics may raise the risk of suicide in some individuals [4]. 

Mental Health Tips During COVID

As a global community, we are facing stresses unlike any other during this COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to care for your mental health every day, especially during these uncertain times. The CDC has some tips for protecting your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic [4]:

  • Take screentime breaks from all devices to give yourself a respite from the news about the pandemic
  • Stay in touch with friends, family, and loved ones to avoid extreme feelings of isolation
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule
  • Eat nutritious foods to give your body the fuel it needs
  • Stretch and meditate regularly
  • Take time to unwind and find activities you enjoy

Developing a quarantine routine, staying in touch with loved ones, and getting some time outside in the sun can help promote positive mental health changes. It is important to remember that we are all living through this pandemic together and though we may be in quarantine or self-isolation, nobody is truly alone. There are mental health support services to give you the tools you need. 

Sources:

1- Healthline - What COVID-19 Is Doing to Our Mental Health

2 - LAist - Our Mental Health Care System Was Already Strained. Now With COVID-19, It's 'Cabin Fever Times 10'

3 - The Lancet - The psychological impact of quarantine and how to reduce it: rapid review of the evidence

4- CDC - Coping with Stress

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NAMI San Fernando Valley

HelpLine: (818) 994-6747
email: info@namisanfernandovalley.org

Physical Address: 20151 Nordhoff Street, Chatsworth, CA 91311

 

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