A year, a month, a week, a minute, a second.
Time knows no bounds, as we’ve all witnessed during this volatile period. With a pandemic at hand among other chaotic matters globally, there’s an innate amount of stress. One that cannot be alleviated by way of social gatherings, celebratory events, so on and so forth. However, as humans, we’re thinking, feeling beings who thrive on social interaction. When you take that integral part of humanity away, one can only expect one thing to happen- the string within us to break.
Yes, this much is known that the Coronavirus can impede your bodily functions. Yet, at the same time, there’s another wave that we’ve failed to take into account: the surge in deteriorating mental health.
With no social interaction and no creative outlet, individuals have seen a rise in anxiety and depression levels. An article in ABC News informs us on November 23rd that people have been “experiencing symptoms of anxiety and depression made worse by pandemic-related stressors, including job loss, evictions, remote learning, travel restrictions and limits on gathering.” (Syed, Kanwal.)
Moreover, people are losing their lives. Family, friends can barely get last words out to loved ones, instead reduced to attending funerals through Zoom. Such actions take a toll on the human mind, and there’s been an increase in prolonged grief. This condition “is characterized by at least six months of intense longing, preoccupation or both, with the deceased; emotional pain; loneliness; difficulty re-engaging in life; avoidance; feeling life is meaningless, and increased suicide risk.” (Thomas, Naomi.)
This trend of a pandemic within a pandemic is not limited to certain age groups either. Little kids are now exposed to the stress their parents face from work in addition to domestic matters. With the continuous risk of getting laid off, tensions are high across all households. In such cases, children tend to take on the stress they witness, which can translate to a manifestation of anxiety in the longer run. A report by Jama Network found that caregivers are “unable to modulate their children’s fears and sadness,” an age-long tradition that is required for rudimentary growth.
Society stands to care for another, to nurture the weak. That is the way of life throughout cultures. Yet still, when a person admits to having any mental illness, it becomes an issue that is cast aside. Fact of the matter is that despite this new age, mental health is still considered a topic of taboo across several cultures.
The mental health system for several countries is strained, with some lacking access to any form of therapy. Along the way, we forget that the issues of physical versus mental health are always interconnected. Science deems it such a way, so who are we to argue against it?
Starting today, the medical community is faced with the crisis of breaking the barriers within cultures. One that will no doubt see a plethora of obstacles given the current circumstances. However, the task isn’t insurmountable. All it takes is a way to relate psychology to physiology. Perhaps then we will realize that the pandemic and the sweep of mental health issues are just as vital to humanity’s well-being. Two different waves that can equally threaten to rip apart the fabric of society.
Different, but the same.