Metro.co.uk seeking views of mental health experts

ended 28. April 2021

Metro.co.uk are looking for  expert insight on the long-term mental health impact of Covid-19, in particular as we emerge from lockdown and life slowly starts returning to normal.

They're happy for some views on the short-term impact, but are more interested in how the pandemic is likely to affect people over the next few years.

6 responses from the Newspage community

"Poor mental health is strongly associated with poor physical health, and so the impact of the pandemic on mental health could lead to an erosion of people’s physical health in the years ahead, further affecting their ability to lead fulfilling lives. "The fallout from the pandemic could also include a widening of pre-existing health inequalities, as well as affecting people who have not previously experienced poor mental health. "Failing to value and invest in your mental health during the pandemic risks storing up significant mental and physical health problems for the future, at great human and economic cost. Good mental health is an important national effort in its own right."
"Polarisation between the 'Haves' and 'Have Nots' is set to continue and expand. "The long-term effects of the pandemic on mental health are likely to be split according to those who have proactive support in place and those who do not."
“We think of lockdown measures as temporarily impacting our lives, but that could be dangerous. The long-term ‘tail’ effect on mental health may be devastating and widespread. People could start reporting more negative psychological issues such as PTSD, depression and insomnia, well into the future. “Research has shown that the long-term impact of national disasters on mental health can be significant. Psychological distress and PTSD symptoms may not appear until many months or years later. “With so much focus on cleanliness measures over the past year, COVID-19 is likely to have triggered people who are susceptible to OCD tendencies, such as contamination or cleaning compulsions. They could see their symptoms worsening as life goes back to normal. “With lockdown coming to an end, people suffering from anxieties may see their symptoms worsening as a result of a sudden burst of socialising. This added pressure could result in a knock-on worsening effect on people’s mental health.”
"We are already seeing the impact of Covid-19 in increasing referrals of young people suffering from Covid-related anxiety, and in employees experiencing stress within the workplace. "The pandemic is also exacerbating symptoms in people with learning disabilities. "I think we are underestimating the devastating longer term impact Covid-19 will have on mental health, from families, children and young people to the workforce as a whole."
Dr Marianne Trent, Clinical Psychologist: "The trauma and threat response may be hard to switch off or dial down for many of us. This could lead to changes in the way that we work and play. "It could also contribute to the development or exacerbation of medium- to long-term mental health difficulties such as OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder), eating disorders, social anxiety and trauma. "The new normal has now become our status quo and it's going to take a while for the dust to settle. We need to give ourselves and others the time needed to adjust."
"Many people have struggled with their eating habits over the past year, perhaps compensating for a restrictive and joyless lifestyle, fuelled by a lack of structure and routine. "In the short term, this will have left many people less energised, tired and lethargic and may also have resulted in weight gain. "As we emerge from the pandemic and a degree of normality is resumed, it is crucial to get back on track with healthy habits as soon as possible to avoid prolonging the harmful effects of unhealthy diet and lifestyle choices."