The Covid-19 pandemic has changed lives and livelihoods. It affected everyone, whether directly or indirectly, resulting in lost income, unemployment, mental health problem, death, fear, and other social problems. The pandemic has had the following psychological impact.
The pandemic affected people’s mental well-being by igniting fear and panic. Many people are afraid of contracting the virus and ending up in hospitals or dying. The disease is causing more terror than other communicable illnesses because it is challenging to keep oneself safe, especially when interacting with others or visiting public areas. The fear of dying from the virus is causing widespread anxiety, especially among those with preexisting health conditions. Such individuals view the virus as a death sentence.
The pandemic has contributed to a rise in mental health problems among healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses. The surge in Covid-19 cases forced hospitals to operate beyond capacity to accommodate growing patient numbers. The experience is overwhelming to clinicians who work many hours and risk infections. The horror and trauma of treating Covid-19 patients and watching hundreds of people die pushed doctors and nurses to an edge, forcing some to commit suicide. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/27/nyregion/new-york-city-doctor-suicide-coronavirus.html. It will take years for some healthcare workers to recover emotionally from the pandemic.
Furthermore, students have suffered psychologically due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Schools were closed to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, exposing students to uncertainties and impossibilities. For example, students feared that school shutdowns would prevent them from joining universities and graduating on time. The fears were realized when some colleges and universities halted in-person and online learning, extending the studying period by one or two semesters. The pandemic’s impact on the labor market ignited fear among students, especially the graduating classes. It was uncertain whether the market could absorb fresh graduates with the underlying economic conditions. Furthermore, being away from peers and lack of entertainment events negatively impacted student’s mental well-being.
Mass quarantine, stay-at-home orders, and curfews enforced to curb Covid-19 spread caused anxiety, depression, stress, and frustration. Social isolation and boredom are detrimental to a person’s mental well-being because humans are social beings and derive emotional satisfaction through interactions and conversations. Mandating people not to leave home or attend social gatherings is equivalent to solitary confinement for certain individuals. Isolation can make people overthink their problems, attempting some to commit suicide to run away from their problems. Furthermore, people opted to drink and use drugs to keep themselves sane during quarantine. However, increased substance use had an opposite effect since it worsened mental health instead of solving problems.
Bad economic conditions stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic had an adverse psychological impact on society. People lost jobs and income, rendering many unable to pay bills or buy essential commodities. Such financial challenges are a root cause of depression, excessive drinking, domestic violence, and homelessness. When a family’s breadwinner is depressed, the entire family, including children, is psychologically impacted because they do not know where they will end up. Many businesses, especially restaurants and hospitality firms, closed during the pandemic, leaving owners with serious money problems. Some owners were servicing loans, and when businesses shut down, they could no longer pay lenders. The inability to pay loans caused severe mental health problems among business owners.
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