The coronavirus pandemic could have an extreme psychological effect on people’s mental health in the future and psychiatrists and psychologists are calling for urgent research.

Anxiety and isolation are already affecting the public and the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that psychological suffering will outlast the coronavirus crisis stating that “even when the pandemic is brought under control, grief, anxiety and depression will continue to affect people and communities”.

Guterres urges governments and health authorities to address this issue of mental health as it is of vital importance during the current pandemic as the situation “is increasing psychological suffering, including grief at the loss of loved ones, shock at job losses, isolation and fear for the future”.

Prof Rory O’Connor from the University of Glasgow said that “increased social isolation, loneliness, health anxiety, stress and an economic downturn are a perfect storm to harm people’s mental health and wellbeing”. He stated that “doing nothing would risk a rise in conditions such as anxiety and depression, and more people turning to alcohol, drugs and gambling, as well as other consequences, such as homelessness.

The Centre of Disease and Control and prevention states that “stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:

Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones

Changes in sleep or eating patterns

Difficulty sleeping or concentrating

Worsening of chronic health problems

Worsening of mental health conditions

Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

Akanksha Bhatia an advocate for mental health reported that “as some countries ease coronavirus restrictions, mental health experts are noticing an emerging phenomenon; anxiety about life after lockdown (and that) people who remain living under the most stringent measures are fearful about what will happen when these rules are lifted”.

There are many articles on the internet to give advice on how to cope with your mental health during and after this current outbreak and if you are feeling anxious you will find many good tips on how best to handle and more importantly (as we all have different ways of coping) what will work best for you.

In June’s edition of The Ege Eye there will be an article giving tips about coping with stress and anixety due to the conronavirus outbreak.

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