The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced the first Covid-19 case in the United States on January 21, 2020.
“15 days to slow the spread” turned into countries closing borders, the stock market cratering, and mental health issues became common among those stuck inside. Americans were urged to stay home in an effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic as city and state personnel rushed to curb the outbreak.
I remember when I first heard of the virus. I never predicted what would come next. I lost my job. All of my classes were virtual, and a month later, my depression became unbearable.
I felt separated from the world. When I would go out everyone stayed six feet away. I was not able to spend the holidays with my family. My one-bedroom apartment became a prison.
By mid-April my mental health was severely affected. The pandemic has caused a significant disruption in people’s everyday lives. The lockdown measures had left people in their homes; causing a major public health concern.
I found myself going for multiple walks a day. I needed to get out of the house. I couldn’t go anywhere because nothing was open. When another person saw me walking on the sidewalk they would rush to the other side of the street to avoid coming within six feet of me. The lack of human connection was one of the hardest things I have ever gone through.
Oxford Academic published an article in January of 2022. The authors of the article administered a mental health survey developed by the World Health Organization. The results showed state-wide stay-at-home orders led to significant reduction in self-reported mental health. By mid-April the states with stay-at-home orders were 0.083 standard deviations lower than the states without a stay-at-home order.
A report showed that 13.6 percent of Americans had severe psychological distress in April 2020. That is four times greater than in 2018.
I think we all have had those days where we want to hang out at home and not see anyone. I am introverted. I love days at home to recharge. After the pandemic, it is clear that we as a society cannot handle being at home and isolated for long periods of time.
Dr. Robert Shulman, a director of clinical services said he has seen a “tremendous demand” for mental health services since the onset of the pandemic.
Mental health is important for our overall well-being. Every American should receive some form of mental health treatment. The pandemic was hard on everyone. It was life altering. Society looks different now that the pandemic is over. Taking care of our mental health is the first step back to normalcy.