COVID-19, Mental Health, & Substance Abuse: How has this Pandemic Affected You?
In March 2020, much of the United States (and world) locked down. COVID-19 swept through the globe. Schools shut down. All non-essential businesses closed until further notice. Ques became a normal way of life. Fathers were no longer able to be with mothers giving birth to their children. States of emergencies were enacted across communities. Fear dragged the nation as we all hovered inside, absorbing post upon post, video upon video, tweet upon tweet, a never ending flow of negative social media. Families only means of contact, of love, through a screen.
Doctors, the media, and prominent figures have all addressed and focused on how to prevent, slow, and stop the spread of COVID-19. But what about its effects on mental health?
While tabulating the increase of overdoses nationwide take months to be released, Jules Netherland, who oversees research at the Drug Policy Alliance, stated “The new CDC data confirms our fears that Covid-19 exacerbating the already devastating overdose crisis.” The Drug Policy Alliance is a nonprofit that focuses on illicit drug use issues.
Alcohol sales were up over 20% in some areas and MOST areas across the country.
What has the fear of the crisis… of this pandemic done to your mental health?
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- Feelings of isolation
- Worrying about your own health or the health of your loved ones
- Financial stress
- Loss of social and other support services
- Difficulty concentrating
- Worsening of mental health conditions: depression, anxiety, etc…
- Worsening of chronic health problems
- Increased use of tobacco, alcohol, and/or other substances
“The new CDC data confirms our fears that Covid-19 exacerbating the already devastating overdose crisis.”
Not to mention, while you are absorbing all of this media, all of this negativity, politics/political views can create even more strain. The increased hatred, violence, and distrust that has formed for not only the government but one another, also has heightened mental health issues and substance abuse.
Rather than focusing on the negative, leaders need to come together to address the ripple of mental health issues and substance abuse sweeping the nation. And it starts with you. Reach out to a friend. Check in on a co-worker. Listen to one another.
Let someone know they are not alone.