How does COVID-19 affect mental health?
Not surprisingly, fear of the unknown ranks very high among people who experience anxiety. And few things have caused as much anxiety as the novel coronavirus, largely because so much about it is unknown.
“The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may be stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about a new disease and what could happen can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Public health actions, such as social distancing, can make people feel isolated and lonely and can increase stress and anxiety.”
Thus, aside from the newness of this disease, we must also contend with feelings of isolation and loneliness because of social distancing.
And if that were not enough, the very thing we use to keep in touch with those we care about, is adding to COVID-related anxiety. As noted in the Harvard Gazette, there is a misinformation pandemic on social media. This misinformation is adding to the stress and anxiety many already feel because misinformation feeds into our fear of the unknown.
Forbes noted that social media users are more likely to believe false information than those who do not use social media. And despite attempts by social media companies to stem the tide of misinformation, success is spotty at best. A post containing false information may be viewed and shared by millions before the media fact checkers can have it flagged or removed.
Hence, the easiest way to avoid false coronavirus info is to simply stay away from social media. Rather than using social media to stay in touch with friends, why not call, text or use a free web conference service?
Another way to make sure that the information you get about COVID19 is accurate is to listen to non-political, expert sources. The CDC and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are government organizations which provide the most up-to-date, reliable information on public health issues like the coronavirus pandemic.
Another great way to get accurate pandemic information in your area is to check with your local public health agency. The National Association of County Health Officials provides an interactive map directory for just that purpose.
If this applies to you, know that help is available. Lev Counseling offers in-office or remote therapy services via web conference. Sessions are scheduled the same as any other, but we can meet online if you prefer.