Study finds indirect effects of COVID-19 pandemic coincide with heavy mental health burden
The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a heavy mental health toll even on people who are not directly impacted by the disease, shows a new study.
Washington: The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a heavy mental health toll even on people who are not directly impacted by the disease, shows a new study.
The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry.
In a first-of-its-kind Australian mental health survey, researchers found that people in countries with low rates of infection and fatalities--like Australia at the onset of the pandemic--still experience twice as much depression and anxiety. These outcomes are largely related to financial stress and disruptions to people's social lives.
"We already know from past pandemic research that the people who are most affected, such as those who become ill and/or are hospitalised and their carers, experience more severe impacts. However, the impacts of COVID-19 on the broader population in relatively less affected countries are also likely to be substantial," says lead author Dr Amy Dawel of the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.
"Our data show that the by-products of COVID-19 are affecting populations broadly--notwithstanding how great the physical illness impact is--and the concern is that countries with strong restrictions, who appear to circumvent the worst of COVID-19, may overlook the indirect impacts of the pandemic."
To capture a snapshot of the population's mental health just after the first COVID-19 restrictions went into effect, Dr Dawel and her collaborators surveyed nearly 1300 Australian adults in March 2020. At this time, authorities had recently closed international borders, bars and restaurants, and limited social gatherings. The participants included a representative distribution of the population, with equal numbers of men and women and participants across all age groups over the age of 18 from every Australian state and territory.(ANI)