Updated: Sep 28, 2022
The Covid-19 pandemic was a major turning point for not only the United States but also the entire world. It caused a huge turn around for the economy, education, careers, and the way we function as a society in general. Although there were many things impacted by the pandemic, the mental health of people around the world was hit pretty severely. There needs to be an acknowledgment of how it has affected people and what we can do to help.
The isolation of the lockdowns was a major part of what has affected the mental health of others. “We found that overall, social restrictions doubled people’s odds of experiencing mental health symptoms” (Gery Karantza - The Conversation) This article also states that looking through multiple different studies that have been conducted about the lockdowns, it shows that people were almost 5 times more likely to experience depression during this period of time. The low amount of social interactions and not being able to see friends and family plays a large role in why feelings of depression were so high. With the amount of depression being experienced during this time, there was also a rise in anxiety. The World Health Organization says, “... global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25%...”, (who.int - World Health Organization). This shows that there were multiple mental health problems that came with the pandemic. Not only was it causing depression, but also anxiety and the fear of not knowing what will happen next.
Although the loneliness of the lockdowns was a big part of the mental health issues, the economy was also a large cause for problems. Many people were losing their jobs and having their businesses close down completely due to the pandemic and poor quality of the economy. By April of 2020, the unemployment rate skyrocketed from 3.6 percent to a staggering 14.8 percent just within a few months. That comes out to almost 49,000,000 people that were unemployed during this time. Out of that 14.8 percent, almost 12 percent of that unemployment was caused strictly from businesses closing down completely. This jump in unemployment was said to be the largest since the Great Depression from 1929 - 1939, where the rate was 25%. The large amounts of evidence from studies and statistics show just how harsh these circumstances were for many people.
The lockdowns and unemployment were a very large cause of mental health problems for all ages, but one of the topics that is not talked about as often is how the change in education affected children and teens all over the world. Students had their school years cut short in 2020 due to the rise in Covid cases and for most students, they weren’t able to go back to school until late 2021 or beyond. BMC Psychology states, “Over a quarter (27.8%) reported a negative effect on physical health, while almost as many (27.1%) perceived negative mental health effects,” (bmcpsychology.biomedcentral.com - BMC Psychology). Many students were struggling with the isolation and not having that face to face interaction with peers on a daily basis. This struggle caused grades to decrease and attendance to be affected poorly as well. “They find that online education lowered a student’s final grade by about 0.2 standard deviations. Their work also confirms the results of previous papers, finding that the negative effect of online learning was driven by students with lower academic ability,” (Stephanie Riegg Cellini - Brown Center Chalkboard). Many studies find that students do better in class when they are able to interact with their peers and be in person with their teachers.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought many changes to our society, not only in the US but internationally as well. Through the lockdowns, job loss, and many other things, there has been a rise in mental health problems. These issues need to be acknowledged so the proper resources can reach people who are in need.
Cellini, Stephanie Riegg. “How Does Virtual Learning Impact Students in Higher Education?” Brookings, Brookings, 9 Mar. 2022, https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2021/08/13/how-does-virtual-learning-impact-students-in-higher-education/#:~:text=They%20find%20that%20online%20education,students%20with%20lower%20academic%20ability.
“Great Depression Facts.” FDR Presidential Library & Museum, https://www.fdrlibrary.org/great-depression-facts#:~:text=How%20high%20was%20unemployment%20during,or%2012%2C830%2C000%20people%20was%20unemployed.
Karantzas, Gery. “Lockdowns Doubled Your Risk of Mental Health Symptoms.” The Conversation, 8 July 2022, https://theconversation.com/lockdowns-doubled-your-risk-of-mental-health-symptoms-180953.
Mosleh, Sultan M., et al. “Mental Health, Learning Behaviour and Perceived Fatigue among University Students during the COVID-19 Outbreak: A Cross-Sectional Multicentric Study in the UAE - BMC Psychology.” BioMed Central, BioMed Central, 2 Mar. 2022, https://bmcpsychology.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s40359-022-00758-z#:~:text=Over%20a%20quarter%20(27.8%25),assessment%20had%20 reduced%20their%20 stress.
“Unemployment Rises in 2020, as the Country Battles the COVID-19 Pandemic : Monthly Labor Review.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 2021, https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2021/article/unemployment-rises-in-2020-as-the-country-battles-the-covid-19-pandemic.htm#:~:text=Total%20civilian%20employment%2C%20as%20measured,3.6%20percent%20to%2013.0%20percent.
Mo is a Senior at Poudre High School and is in her first year working with the Poudre Press. She runs a blog called Watashiato Press, about the affect that people's words have on each other. Check it out here!