The Covid-19 pandemic has caused anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and mental distress, says Dr Miriam Stoppard, a UK author, and columnist associated with The Mirror. According to Stoppard, who is also a medical doctor, repeated lockdowns to contain the spread of the contagion and restrictions by the authorities have made people feel as though they have survived a war. She claimed that now people are suffering the fallout of existing in a “warzone" and their mental health has been affected.
In the recent column for Mirror, Dr Stoppard, quoting studies, says that the rates of suicidal thoughts increased in people aged 18-29 during the pandemic. Interestingly, the opinion piece appeared on the portal on August 8, two days before ‘World Suicide Prevention Day.’
Stoppard said that General Practitioners (GPs) have told her that around 40% of their workload deals with mental health. Faraz Mughal, a Doctoral Fellow of Keele University, told her that having frequent exposure to pandemic news is one of the risk factors associated with distress.
She said that many people went into self-isolation mode after testing positive for the virus. This led to stress, anxiety, adjustment disorder, confusion and anger among many of them. Families of Covid patients also experience substantial mental distress. Stoppard said that the pandemic will further widen the mental health inequalities for ethnic minority groups. It will also have serious implications on those suffering from pre-existing mental illness
She feels that over the past few months, remote consultations for mental health issues have increased. However, it is undermining the close relationship between doctor and patient who used to have face-to-face interaction before the pandemic. She advised that doctors must be given time and resources to treat mental health patients with self-care.