The Mental Health Dangers Associated with a Pandemic

Millions of workers are affected by stress and anxieties.

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The Kaiser Family Foundation, an American NGO that provides data on national health issues, conducted polls in 2020. Showed that the mental health almost half of adults were affected. By the worry and stress associated with the Covid 19 virus. As the months passed without a solution those numbers risen. People reported that they were worried about catching the disease themselves. About family members contracting the virus. And about the economic fallout as a result of the virus. They worried about layoffs or losing their jobs completely. Essential workers (key Workers) were worried about contracting the virus than other groups. While women and minority groups reported the biggest impact on their mental health.

As the pandemic failed to go away. The Polls taken later in the year showed increased numbers of persons reporting anxiety, stress and feelings of isolation. As a result impacting on the ability of workers to perform at best levels. Some workers are not even aware on a superficial level that their stress and anxiety levels are higher than usual. While some workers might think they are doing okay. These emotions are affecting their performance. And their interactions with other people in their home. Or for those who are still going to work outside their home, it affects the way they relate to their co-workers or even to customers. Patience can be in short supply or tempers flare more. Some workers find themselves unable to concentrate for more than short periods of time. Information that was once absorbed now seems impossible to remember. These things all result in a decrease in productivity and affect the efficiency and success of companies.

Millions of workers are affected by these stresses and anxieties. The mental and psychological fall out must be addressed if we are to move forward. When the virus is under control. While many workers will only experience some increases in anxiety. And a degree of extra stress, for some the effects on their mental health will be much more severe.

As a result of a pandemic people can develop can depression, anxiety, germophobia and panic attacks. To Obsessive Compulsive disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, delirium, psychosis and even suicide. And addictive behaviours such as alcoholism and substance abuse. Some studies also predict that for some, these conditions will not go away when the virus is under control. Because some people will continue to experience chronic anxiety and stress.

These predictions are based on the findings from research done on other outbreaks such as SARS. The psychological effects on those who lived through pandemics lingered long after. The outbreak subsided and they recovered from the physical health effects. People will remained anxious and prone to germophobia and obsessive compulsive disorder. Especially as viruses have been known to develop different strains. Women appear to be even more affected than men, as they are the ones who are responsible for most of the tasks in the home. And for looking after the needs of the children and working full time from home as well. Some studies have even shown that the pandemic has set back the cause of gender balance. By several years thereby affecting the mental health of the women in the home.

It has been a difficult time for all workers. But more so essential workers who goes to work every day despite the risks. Either because the country could not continue to operate without them. Or in the case of health workers to keep victims of the virus and others alive. Large percentages of these workers reported experiencing diminished productivity. higher stress levels, burn out and depression.

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