Covid-19 and Mental Health

We’ve seen responses to the disease ranging from panic to denial.

  1. People screaming “I’m dying” in a medical facility because they have a sore throat.
  2. A 47-year-old in NJ cited by police for throwing a “corona party in lof a public gathering ban. On the same note, a birthday party in Connecticut resulted in 20 of the 40 women attending getting the virus. Instant karma.

Now, most people don’t die from this virus, although there will be more people dead this year than would have been expected. An estimate form the University of Washington suggests a range of fatalities from the virus of between 32,000 and 168,000 Americans. However, that may be low, as there is reason to believe that deaths to date are under-reported. For some deaths, authorities are awaiting test results to determine whether to classify a death as virus related. There’s no rush to process tests for the deceased.

Do young people die? Well, until this afternoon, the youngest reported deceased from the virus was age 30. Today, a newborn in Chicago died. The baby was apparently infected prior to birth. However, hospitals are starting to ban husbands and other support people from delivery rooms due to unexpected infections. If someone isn’t showing symptoms, they can still infect hospital personnel, and there are only so many obstetricians to go around.

There’s no doubt that Covid-19 complicates lives. The US Air Force Academy now has 5 Covid cases, and one suicide, although it’s not clear that the suicide and infections were related.(2) There was a suicide in India over fear of infection.(3) Chicago has seen a spike in calls to the suicide prevention hotline due to the virus.(4)

Writing in Psychology Today, Glenn Sullivan notes that the suicide rate increased by 50% in the US after the 1929 stock market crash.(5) Yet this is a very different environment. With the usual government slowness in reporting, it may be two years before we know what actually is happening now.

The question is how people choose to deal with it. The extremes (panic and denial) don’t work, and usually cause problems for others.

Writing in Benefits Pro Magazine, C. J. Marwitz offers a number of free resources for people facing mental health issues. I’m not repeating them here. The link is (1) below.

Be safe and be sane. This will pass eventually. But take every day as a give, not for granted.

Sources:

  1. https://www.benefitspro.com/2020/03/26/mental-health-hotlines-and-websites-because-covid-19-just-makes-things-worse/?kw=Mental%20health%20hotlines%20and%20websites:%20Because%20COVID-19%20just%20makes%20things%20worse&utm_source=email&utm_medium=enl&utm_campaign=bprodaily&utm_content=20200327&utm_term=bpro
  2. https://townhall.com/tipsheet/juliorosas/2020/03/28/air-force-academy-reels-increase-of-wuhan-coronavirus-cases-and-cadet-suicide-n2565894
  3. https://www.msn.com/en-in/finance/markets/telangana-man-commits-suicide-over-fear-of-covid-19-in-suryapet/ar-BB11QXqR
  4. https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/opinion/ct-abn-crosby-isolation-st-0327-20200326-lellubc4k5agrkra3ptsihvgqa-story.html
  5. https://www.psychologytoday.com/za/blog/acquainted-the-night/202003/will-covid-19-make-the-suicide-crisis-worse

8 comments

    • You’re absolutely correct. Another way of looking at this is that we are getting pushed a little more rapidly than expected into “future world.” That’s an environment in which more work is from home, and commuting from offices becomes a thing of the past. That’s a huge change for city planning. Think of the traffic congestion that will disappear permanently. I’m saying that in the context of the research report that identified upwards of 150 other coronaviruses that are on deck to mutate into the human population.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The are millennials who insist on being free to come and go as they see fit. My daughter is having a baby and is quite worried so she gets “it” with respect to social distancing – but everyone of us says “we feel great” and may go on to infect exponentially more that just the guy at the deli -or the mailman, etc. Social distance and hygiene. I am still at the hospital daily. Seeing folks who are afraid and have no visitors to keep them company.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Dr. Sefton, i appreciate your comments, thank you.

    Adapting to a world where social distancing is the norm is going to be very easy for some computer nerds (I’m one of them, and my wife is disabled, so we don’t go out much) but very difficult for so many others.

    The OB/Gyn people are really frightened, as they are getting blindsided by women or their companies who are carrying infections into delivery and infecting staff in the process. You may have seen the articles about that in the NYC hospitals. You can ask a GI physician to field calls about the virus, as some hospitals have had to do, but who do you haul in when you need to replace OB/Gyn staff?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ashu,
      I’m placing a comment here because I had trouble figuring out how to place it on your site. You have a nice article, which I like, but I do have a question. To what extent are we seeing outbursts resulting from fear of the virus, versus outburst resulting from internal dissatisfaction and the stripping away of distractions so that we have to face ourselves? My suspicion is that many people bury underlying unhappiness under a pile of “busywork” or distractions. Now, with the enforced slowdown, the distractions are diminished, and they have to face what they have avoided for so long. Hence the uptick in domestic violence in the US.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Firstly ill thank you for the like and comment🙏

        Actually you are asking a valid question and logic is also valid, even keeping oneself busy restricts the stress cycle and overall period of stress but in lockdown one one end it’s creating and adding financial burdens, on other end uncertainty lies ahead to them. Always known devil is better than unknown devil and current uncertainty is unknown devil and known ones both added to the life, so stress easily reaches to anxiety, depression, being violent or even suicidal tendencies. That’s why in my article mentioned clearly, keep yourself as occupied as you can with passions, hobby or dream fulfilment skill development/learning.

        Like

  2. Thank you. Technical question. I was logged into WordPress, but your site said I still had to log in to leave comment there. Failed to figure that out.

    Like

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