Best Tip For Your Mental Health During Coronavirus Crisis

A recent Census Bureau survey showed that one in three people in the U.S. now experience symptoms of depression or anxiety, more than three times the estimates in the first half of 2019. But health experts said there is a simple way to avoid or manage the effects of COVID-19 on mental health.

The novel coronavirus brought many challenges to the country and other parts of the world. People saw high hospitalizations, business closures, job loss and economic fallout. 

Even the safety measures aimed at protecting the public come with negative effects. Governments and health experts recommend that people physically distance from others, including family and friends, to avoid transmission of the virus.

The reduced interactions and more frequent isolation combined with other changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have been harmful to both mental and physical health. There have been reports of more people feeling increased levels of anxiety and depression amid the health crisis. 

"Loneliness is surprisingly common, especially amongst adolescents and young adults," Vivek Murthy, former surgeon general of the U.S., and Alice Chen, an internal medicine physician and former executive director of Doctors for America. "The physical distancing and isolation of COVID-19 -- in addition to the recent flare of police brutality and racial injustice -- threaten to exacerbate the sense of separation between people at a moment when we need more social support."

Loneliness has long been linked to higher risk of depression and anxiety. It also contributes to other serious health problems, such as heart disease, dementia and premature death.

One study showed that loneliness could cut people’s lifespan similar to the effect of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. But there is a way to avoid these health problems that can be associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"We must rebuild and reprioritize our relationships with one another," Murthy and Chen said in an opinion piece posted on CNN. "We must find ways to elevate our more enduring values -- kindness, honesty, courage, self-sacrifice -- and reflect these in our decisions and in the way we define success."

Communities need to build a people-centered culture. Murthy and Chen suggested that individuals bond more with each other, even by just spending 15 minutes talking or offering a home-cooked meal. 

The support should focus on those who experience loneliness amid the coronavirus pandemic. The two experts said the health crisis provides an opportunity to reassess our lives' values and reprioritize relationships with one another.

"COVID-19 is our opportunity to recommit to one another, to recognize that human connection is the foundation for greater health, resilience and fulfillment," Murthy and Chen said. 

Depression and COVID-19 A Census Bureau survey showed that one in three people in the U.S. experienced symptoms of depression or anxiety in the first half of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a number more than three times the estimates in the same period in 2019. Pixabay