As the number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections and deaths keep rising, governments and other authorities look to be more focused on reviving their economies and finding a vaccine or cure for the deadly virus.
Apart from hitting hard the global economy, COVID-19 has hit hard on the mental well-being of people around the world, as they try to cope with its effects like loss of jobs, loved ones, and being isolated.
As the biggest part of the population around the world was forced into lockdown by their governments to curb the spread of the disease, millions of people lost jobs and are now either living on the mercy of government aid, or their savings. This, the UN says, can lead the majority of them into depression.
For those that have lost loved ones to the pandemic, or fear getting infected and losing them, face high levels of anxiety, grief, and sadness that take a toll on their mental well-being, according to United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
“After decades of neglect and underinvestment in mental health services, the COVID-19 pandemic is now hitting families and communities with additional mental stress. Even when the pandemic is brought under control, grief, anxiety, and depression will continue to affect people and communities,” Guterres said in a media brief.
The groups of people that are having mental issues because of the pandemic are the medical workers and those on the frontline of the fight against the pandemic who are overwhelmed by the number of infections, work long shifts under tremendous pressure. This kind of stress builds up over time and impacts them mentally.
The UN also warns that children who are out of school will be impacted, as well as people who are isolated from their families, especially the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions who are said to be at risk of succumbing to the disease. The fear that comes with having a higher possibility of not making it once infected, the UN says, could drive them into depression.
Governments are therefore encouraged to put into consideration the mental impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and put into place mental health services to deal with these cases.