Depression & COVID-19

By Fiona English

Within months, a widespread pandemic has taken hold of our lives, drastically changing our day-to-day routine. From this came many instances of uncertainty for all people. Unemployment rates skyrocketed, the economy plummeted, and isolation was the new norm. 

Out of this chaos, mental health was on a steady decline. A study from the Boston University School of Medicine showed that depression went from about 8.5% to 27.8% in a study done on 458 people. The percentage of people with depression symptoms more than doubled during isolation. But, what is causing this all-time low mental health decline? With quarantine spreading across the nation, isolation has contributed to ”stress, depression, irritability, insomnia, fear, confusion, anger, frustration, boredom, and stigma,” says the New England Journal of Medicine. Due to quarantine, depression symptoms have nearly tripled after COVID-19. Critical factors contributing to this are uncertainty of the future and fear of shortage in testing options, vaccine possibilities, unemployment, and financial losses. Many have felt the effects of COVID in close proximity, losing family and friends to this pandemic. With the addition of isolation, these symptoms worsen. All the results, coupled with each other, can take a devastating toll on mental health. 

Mental health has many stigmas surrounding the topic. Before this pandemic, mental health was gradually coming to the forefront of general health and overcoming many of these stigmas. During this pandemic, mental health has become a massive issue for the general populous. Humans are social beings; even with technology at our fingertips, socializing has been a primary concern with isolation. How does this affect students? FSW has seen many changes since the end of the 2020 spring semester. Campuses closed, and classes were switched to online. For many students, this affected their capacity to learn. Many students may be currently struggling with online learning and have varied learning styles. Isolation during this crucial time of learning also affected overall grades. With the increase of depression symptoms before COVID-19, many students may be experiencing a sense of hopelessness during the quarantine. Depression symptoms may include lack of sleep, motivation, self-esteem, concentration, energy, confidence, and even appetite. These symptoms can affect overall morale towards academic achievement and affect one’s ability to perform simple tasks. Depression is a crippling issue that can affect one’s ability to maintain personal hygiene and even self-preservation. 

This raises the question: what are some things that can be done to cope with depression symptoms? Help Guide says that the first step is often the hardest to go for a walk or be active. A second significant effect of depression is isolation. An additional tip given by Help Guide is to reach out and talk to others about your emotions. Depression can make one feel the need to isolate from others and further worsen one’s mental state. Lastly, Help Guide discusses professional help. These tips can only go so far, and it is vital to check in with a licensed medical professional who can provide expert support. 

Fiona English

Staff Writer – Opinion

Sources: – New England Journal of Medicine – Boston University School of Science – Help Guide

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