Living with an on-going pandemic is surely not what anyone thought about when this year started. But whether we like it or not; it is around us and affecting everything and everyone in many ways. In terms of mental health, the year 2020 was probably the worst. The new study finds that people experienced more depression symptoms during this pandemic period as compared to the time before.
The occurrence of these depression symptoms was much higher after the pandemic started as compared to the time before it. The complete study findings are published in the journal JAMA Network Open.
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This study was conducted by a Boston University researcher. Catherine K. Ettman, from the School of Public Health and her co-researchers, tried to study the risks associated with depression symptoms in the US population.
The data was obtained through another study named “Life Stressors Impact on Mental Health and Well-Being” and survey reports which were conducted by the National Health and Nutrition (2017 to 2018). The final responses were recorded from no less than 1,441 participants and before the pandemic, 5,065 participants.
They found that symptoms of depression were extremely high among every category under discussion during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic as compared to the years before. They were also able to find out a connection between high risk of depression signs in families with low family income and poor quality of life. This category had little or no savings and high stressors to affect their condition, making it worse during the pandemic.
The results showing an increase in depression symptoms during the pandemic is considerably high than recorded previously among people who have experienced any trauma or accident. It shows that the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are much more deep-rooted than it appears which is why the mental health of millions of people is at risk.
The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies stress and fear to be two normal responses caused by a pandemic. It is the fear of an unknown pathogen which is making people worried and putting their mental health at this risk.
This fear is not just confined to viral contraction but also affects the routine life. Under the prevention plans and recommendations, moving from one place to another, going into public gatherings, meeting friends and family, and even standing in a place with so many people around can increase the risk of getting the virus. In addition to this, the pandemic has changed work patterns, the concept of socialization, education, and almost no physical contact with the loved ones, all of which are affecting mental health.
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But in these recurring episodes of depression not just the health aspect of the pandemic but also the social and economic factors involved which in one way or the other affect their quality of life.
While researchers have declared this COVID-19 pandemic worst for mental health, they urge people to seek help if they are unable to control their emotions. People are fearful of going to hospitals or visit doctors but the telemedicine facility and online coaching can help them if they want.