Anxiety and The Impact of Covid-19 on Mental Health

Written by on June 19, 2020

Is Covid-19 keeping you up at night?
This is the impact of Covid-19 on mental health.
by Shaylene Karelse

The University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Social Change and the Developmental, Capable and Ethical State research division of the Human Sciences Research Council conducted a research on the impact of Covid-19 on South Africans. It found that 33% of adults were depressed, 45% fearful and 29% lonely during the lockdown.

The coronavirus has changed life for us all. The same air that we breathe is now a threat to our health and this is causing people to become more anxious as they fear the devastating impact that the virus might have on their futures.

Lockdown, isolation, panic, retrenchment are only some of the many reasons that have contributed to an increase in anxiety levels. Anxiety is a feeling of worriedness about a particular situation. If not controlled, it can negatively affect your mental health. It is normal to feel anxious especially, during this pandemic.  It also needs to be factored in that different people will react differently to the effects of Covid-19.

Anxiety could have threatening consequences on your mental and physical health. It could result in poor sleeping patterns due to worrying about things such as the duration of the virus, being isolated, finances, your next meal, rent and so forth.

Anxiety during Covid-19 can also lead to a loss of interest in people and activities. When your mind is not stimulated, it allows negative thoughts to fill it. Negative thoughts could lead to a feeling of helplessness especially if you are feeling panicked about the virus. Continued periods of experiencing anxiety and not addressing it could further lead to depression.

There are ways to improve your mental well being during this stressful time. Firstly, it’s important to reach out and stay connected with friends and family. Doing this will give you an opportunity to voice your feelings and share your experiences. It will also give others that are socially isolated an opportunity to talk to you about the way they are feeling. Having an outlet to share experiences with can alleviate your anxiety.

Secondly, be wary of media reports, especially social media. We are bombarded with news about the coronavirus. Watching and reading about Covid-19 is important for us to stay informed however, it can also cause anxiety. There are many false reports, conspiracy theories and so forth going around. To stay informed make sure you turn to reliable sources to lessen your anxiety.

Lastly, it’s important to remain positive and optimistic. Many people fear the unknown. We have so many questions that’s causing our stress levels to increase. Will we still have jobs after this? When will this pandemic end? We might not know what the future holds but choosing how to respond to the pandemic is something that you can control. By choosing optimism, you are choosing hope and hope changes everything.

If you or a friend needs help, you can call the SADAG (South African Depression and Anxiety Group) on 011 234 4837. It is a 24 hour lifeline that is available to assist you, should you need it.


For information on Covid-19 visit the Official South African Government Coronavirus Website.

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