The effects of the pandemic have hit many people particularly hard.
• Loss of employment and financial stressors, not only for a person’s current context but also his or her future outlook.
• Many young people have had their education interrupted and are possibly experiencing even greater anxiety about their future prospects as a result. Educational institutions must seek alternative ways to deliver curricula all of which may rob students of expected social and developmental opportunities (e.g.., living away from home, participating in study abroad, engaging in career-oriented internships and field placements) leaving them vulnerable to increased mental health concerns.
• Social isolation, entrapment, and loneliness contribute to depression – all of which may increase as a result of the pandemic along with substance abuse and domestic violence.
• Irresponsible media reporting of repeated exposure to stories about the crisis can increase fear and heighten suicide risk.
• The suicide-related consequences of the pandemic may be worse in resource-poor settings where economic adversity is compounded by inadequate welfare supports, for example the effects felt by vulnerable migrant workers.
• Other concerns in these settings include social effects of banning religious gatherings, not being able to present for a loved one’s death, and major changes to funerals for those who are bereaved.
• COVID-19-related stigma and misinformation may affect those known to be infected or even simply exposed. (Gunnell et al., 2020).
Most recently, the corona virus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has caused concern among experts about increases in stress, anxiety and depression due to the economy, isolation due to social distancing, and increases in domestic violence and substance abuse, bereavement and grief, and exposure to media reporting. These experts warn that the distress caused by the pandemic will leave many people, with and without psychiatric disorders, vulnerable to suicidal behavior and that the consequences on an individual’s suicidality are likely to be present for longer and peak later than the pandemic itself (Gunnell et al., 2020).
The likely adverse effects of the pandemic on people with mental illness, and on population mental health in general, might be exacerbated by fear, self-isolation, and physical distancing. Those with psychiatric disorders might experience worsening symptoms and others might develop new mental health problems, especially depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress. These mental health problems will be experienced by the general population and those with high levels of exposure to illness caused by COVID-19, such as frontline health-care workers and those who develop the illness. The consequences for mental health services are already being felt (e.g., increased workloads and the need to find new ways of working). (Gunnell et al., 2020, p. 469)