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Indybay Feature
Covid 19 Stress and its Impacts on Mental Health and the Body
by Erica Phelps
Monday Nov 15th, 2021 8:37 PM
This article discusses how prolonged Covid 19 stress impacts mental and physical health of individuals. The stresses from the Covid 19 pandemic can lead to or exacerbate serious medical health conditions. In 2020 there was an 11% increase in reports of anxiety and depression in the U.S. from years prior. This is not only a national problem, but also a global one that will have lasting effects.
Covid 19 Stress and its Impacts on Mental Health and the Body
By Erica Phelps

Chronic or prolonged stress has an impact on all of the body’s processes, mental as well as physical. For many, the impact from the constant stress and anxiety caused by the Covid 19 pandemic will continue to have lasting effects.

According to the American Psychological Association, “Our bodies are well equipped to handle stress in small doses, but when that stress becomes long-term or chronic, it can have serious effects on your body.” The prolonged stresses from the Covid pandemic can lead to or exacerbate serious, long-term health conditions. These stresses can include anxiety that yourself, a family member, or a friend will contract Covid. You may be experiencing stress over financial concerns due to not being able to work during the pandemic.

Childcare and education have become difficult for many families, as many children are distance learning, and many childcare providers are not taking children due to Covid restrictions or concerns. Some are dealing with loneliness, isolation, or have lost family or friends to Covid. They may be experiencing loss and depression but are unable to access care due to not having coverage for mental health services.

We are being bombarded by constant statistics and opinions via our radios, televisions, phones, and social media outlets which is causing anxiety, people don’t know who or what to believe, there is so much conflicting information being bandied about. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Over time, continued strain on your body from stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, including mental disorders such as depression or anxiety.”

According to a U.S. Census Bureau survey from December 2020, 42% of U.S. adults reported symptoms of anxiety and depression, which is an 11% increase from years prior. “Nearly a year into the pandemic, prolonged stress persists at elevated levels for many Americans. As we work to address stressors as a nation, from unemployment to education, we can’t ignore the mental health consequences of this global shared experience,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, APA’s chief executive officer. “Without addressing stress as part of a national recovery plan, we will be dealing with the mental health fallout from this pandemic for years to come.”

Our global leaders need to address this problem, as it does not only affect us here in America. A step in the right direction is the World Health Organization’s Special Initiative for Mental Health (2019-2023): which will help to provide universal health coverage for mental health to 12 priority countries to reach 100 million more people. This can help to advance advocacy for mental health policies and human rights and provide more interventive measures and services within communities. The goal is to reduce suicide rates by 15% through promoting mental wellbeing and offering treatment measures for prevention. They are also focusing on the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, which has been a coping mechanism used to deal with the stresses surrounding the pandemic.

Hopefully access to mental health services will be a service that will be available to all, not just the few. It has become apparent since Covid 19, need for mental health care has risen. Given that we have yet to eradicate the virus, making mental health access a priority is an important issue that will affect Americans and the world for years to come.
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