Mental Health Impacts of COVID-19 May Outlast Pandemic, Study Finds

The mental health impacts of COVID-19 may linger after the pandemic is over.  New research suggests that some patients hospitalized with the coronavirus infection are likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder months or years after they are released.  The risks may be higher for the general public as well. Widespread job losses, media overload and the isolating effects of social distancing may lead to an increase in mental health problems, experts warn. About 15% of patients hospitalized with SARS or MERS, two coronaviruses closely related to the one that causes COVID-19, suffered from depression or anxiety up to three years after they left the hospital, according to a new study in the journal Healthcare workers and patients are shown inside the Intensive Care Unit for COVID-19 of the Gilberto Novaes Hospital in Manaus, Brazil, May 20, 2020.News cycle Limiting media exposure is a good idea, she said. People who watched more media coverage of other traumatic events, such as the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, were more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in the aftermath, she said. Certain people seem to be more susceptible, Silver added. “We’ve found in studies that we’ve done over the last 10 years or so that individuals who are anxious seek out media, and the media makes them more anxious, which leads them to seek out more media,” she said. “It’s a vicious cycle that people have difficulty extricating themselves from.” What we can do
Experts say it’s important for people who are anxious or depressed to reach out to family, friends or others who can provide support, even though — or perhaps because — it’s harder now with social distancing.  Call or video chat. Reach out to health professionals. Call a help line.  “Cherish the contacts that you can still make,” Iris Sommer said.  Help for those in crisis (U.S.): • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call (800) 273-TALK (8255) • Crisis Text Line: text “HOME” to 741741 to chat with a trained crisis counselor • SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline: call (800) 985-5990. Press 2 for Spanish-language support.   

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