A Second Wave of Mental Health Devastation from Covid-19

As world is bracing to face second wave of Covid-19 after the devastating millions of human lives in first wave, there is another looming threat – mental health disorders. First wave of Covid-19 was accompanied by a wave of mental health disorders and substance abuse and a recently published study has predicted that a second wave of these issues is in the making.

Researchers have argued in their study that this second wave of mental health disorders will increase the magnitude of suicide and substance use in people who are directly and indirectly affected by Covid-19. Moreover, the risk group for this episode similar to the last wave of mental health disorders is people of color, people of Hispanic decent, the poor, the old, and the health workers.

One factor which is increasingly playing a role in Covid-19 associated mental health problems is grief for prolonged periods of time. This study shows that extended grief may be caused by loss of a loved one, being lonely for extended period of time, anxiety and panic, loss of meaning in life, and avoiding confrontation with self when a person cannot come to terms with the reality. If these conditions are combined with substance abuse then this is a recipe for disaster.

According to a rough estimate almost 10% of U.S. citizens are suffering from this kind of grief and the study argues that if death of an individual affects 9 of his connections then an estimate of around 2 million people in U.S are suffering from grief or sensation of loss for an extended period of time which is greater than any other country in terms of recorded cases.

Out of all the people who have reported mental health problems, the most alarming is the occurrence of such problems in the people who are associated with essential services such as healthcare and emergency response. These people being the backbone of successful anti-Covid-19 workforce are most important to the cause and yet they are most vulnerable which can mean a compromise in the readiness of these services.

Caregivers working in nursing homes for the elderly have also reported that almost 26% of them are facing difficulties related to their mental health which are stemming from being unpaid and being unable to take out sufficient time for their families.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently conducted a survey from a group of people and an astounding 41% of the people who took the survey admitted that their mental health was affected by Covid-19 and the cause of this varied from loss of a loved one to the effects of social distancing (even isolation) for long periods of time. These respondents agreed with the fact that they feel more depressed now and suicidal thoughts cross their mind more frequently than pre-Covid days.

In this regard, researchers are of the opinion that efforts need to be increased so that Covid-19 can be checked for its effects on mental health and groups which are more likely to be affected can be protected by rigorously revising the approaches to mitigate their mental health problems.

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