Will mental health improve after lockdown?

It is safe to say that the pandemic has been difficult for many, isolation, job issues, child care, and many other challenges have severely affected the mental well-being of many people around the world. Many may question if mental health will improve after lockdown, and to find the best answer, we must look at how we are currently coping and what we are implementing into our lives.

The state of our current Mental Health

Although it is difficult to say where we are right now due to the full picture not being painted yet, we can discern its early contours. There has been a surge in depression, high reported symptoms of anxiety, and a high focus of impact on younger adults than older.

This can stem from many often feeling as if they are on autopilot and removed from other people and situations. Loneliness may be running rampant and sleeping issues have been a common complaint.

On a brighter note, as the vaccines have ruled out, hope has risen and invisible weight has been lifted off many shoulders.  Fear somewhat has slowed down, but it is yet to be eradicated. 

What is being implemented to help?

Currently, schools and cities are offering help and resources for those that request it. Additionally mental health professionals are still accessible virtually. communities are also incentivizing others to participate in virtual  get-togethers to hopefully bring some sort of normalcy back. 

Other forms of healthy ways to cope  that are being broadcasted during this time are highlighted below:

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. It’s good to be informed, but hearing about the pandemic constantly can be upsetting and add to increased depression. Consider limiting news to just a couple times a day and disconnecting from phone, tv, and computer screens for a while.
  • Take care of your body.
    • Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate.
    • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Get plenty of sleep.
    • Avoid excessive alcohol, tobacco, and substance use.
    • Continue with routine preventive measures (such as vaccinations, cancer screenings, etc.) as recommended by your healthcare provider.
    • Decide whether getting the vaccine shot is right for you.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
  • Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations. While social distancing measures are in place, try connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.

What will happen after lockdown?

With this being said many hope that mental health will greatly improve or at least normalize after the lockdown; however, the unusual situation of the pandemic has truly caused lasting effects that can carry on months or even years after the pandemic is over. 

Most notably, germophobia based obsessive-compulsive behaviors that have been adapted during the pandemic can carry on, as well as paranoia, which can then lead to anxiety can unfortunately also be a part of our future. Another possible mental health after affect from the pandemic is increased and heightened levels of divorce/separation.  This is why it is important to currently Seek out helpful resources and participate in support groups.

I encourage you to reach out to the  SAMHSA’s National Free Helpline that is confidential and available 24/7 365 days a year, 1-800-662-HELP  (4357)

Resources: Medical news Today “Mental Health during the Pandemic: 1 year on”

Nature “COVID’s Mental-health toll: how scientists are tracking a surge in depression”

BBC “Coronavirus: The possible long-term mental health impacts”

CDC’s “Coping with Stress”

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