#WorldMentalHealthDay Conversations: How the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting people's mental and emotional wellbeing
14 Oct 2020
Eight months into the pandemic in Indonesia, and it’s clear as day that the current conditions can be triggering. People are anxious as the situation is still unsure and still not relatively safe nor has it shown any signs of returning to normal here in Indonesia, even though we have been living in the “new normal” era for quite some time now. Activities such as work and studies have been done online, however, the continuous spread of Covid-19 makes it difficult for people to carry on their normal routines and habits, especially socializing, traveling, and other activities for entertainment purposes. Without realizing it, the reduction of interaction between humans directly harms human mental health. With the lack of certainty, a sense of freedom, and social interaction, it is not a surprise that this pandemic has taken a toll on people's emotional condition and mental wellbeing. Isolation and Quarantine are a necessity during these trying times, but of course, it has its’ own side effects to people, especially those who need consultations, treatments, and medication from medical and mental health professionals as well. These uncertain conditions and isolating times along with the sudden change of lifestyles can be triggering to those who are already struggling with clinical anxiety and other mental illnesses. This situation may even trigger those who are not yet aware they may be struggling with high levels of anxiety and panic.
The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report showed that there was a three times increase in depressive symptoms and four times an increase in anxiety symptoms in the United States between August and June 2020. This increase is relatively large compared to the previous year, 2019. In the MMWR study from the CDC, 74.9 percent of people aged 18 to 24, and 51.9 percent of those aged 25 to 44, reported mental health problems, and that is just in the US.
In Indonesia, according to the Association of Mental Medicine Specialists, psychiatrists and psychologists have recorded data that shows 1.522 people have experienced concerns and problems directly related to mental health by May 2020 during this COVID-19 pandemic. The concerning statistic also shows that 63% of these patients experience anxiety, while 66% of patients were diagnosed with depression. Also, 80% of those 1.522 people that have contacted mental health professionals and facilities have disclosed psychological trauma they have experienced, while 80% of those trauma patients have been diagnosed to have Post Traumatic Stress or known as PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
The numbers are concerning, but with the many research or studies done by the World Health Organization (WHO) and many other relating organizations, alongside World Mental Health Day that is commemorated in the month of October (specifically; October 10th), hopefully, people will not only speak up more of the struggles of mental illnesses but also become more aware of the serious effects of the Covid-19 pandemic to people’s mental and emotional wellbeing in order to encourage those who are struggling mentally and emotionally to seek help through the increasing amount of online or mobile resources/facilities available that are catered to help those in need of professional help during this isolating and triggering period of time in our lives.
This year, the purpose of World Mental Health Day has become even more important than ever, considering the current circumstances and the condition of the world in itself. This is evident in the number of conversations about World Mental Health Day on social media. In the last month, we captured over 1.578.146 Conversations about World Mental Health Day across all social media channels and news portals, while the official hashtag #WorldMentalHealthDay was used in 1.127.189 posts. In Indonesia, conversations about World Mental Health Day reached over 45K (45,164) just on twitter alone. Meanwhile, we found that the official hashtag (#WorldMentalHealthDay) was used in over 27k (27,752) that contributed to the 45K tweets.
World Mental Health Day is commemorated to spread awareness and inspire action from the wide public regarding the importance of mental health, it is also a day to spread compassion and care while urging those struggling to speak up about their daily struggles in order for others to better understand these everyday struggles and to urge people to seek help from people around them as well as mental health professionals if needed.
Whenever you are experiencing uncomfortable, unstable, and unexplainable shifts in moods, negative thoughts, or feeling uncontrollably anxious, please do reach out to mental health professionals and consultants through official online channels to ensure both your physical health and safety along with your mental and emotional wellbeing. It's never too late to seek the help you need in order to balance day-to-day activities with work, especially in the midst of this pandemic.
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