The Psychological Impact of COVID-19
New research provides insight into the psychological impact of COVID-19.
Posted Sep 30, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the globe bringing uncertainty, fear, loss, isolation, and hardship, individuals find themselves in a time of collective trauma. Situations like COVID-19 that can elicit collective trauma may lead to a number of psychological, relational, physiological, and spiritual consequences for those impacted (Aydin, 2017; Saul, 2014; for more information on collective trauma and its effects see "What is Collective Trauma?"). As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to uproot the lives of millions, current research seeks to understand the impact of the pandemic and how to mitigate the negative consequences that may be surfacing in response.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, research has noted a variety of mental health consequences that have been experienced in response. Some of these consequences have included: stress, depression, anxiety, feelings of panic, feelings of hopelessness, frustration, feelings of desperation, and struggles with suicidal ideation and behavior, insomnia, irritability, emotional exhaustion, grief, and traumatic stress symptoms. Although the impact of COVID-19 is individual-specific and based on a number of factors (e.g. the length of quarantine, risk factors, trauma history, mental health history, etc.), some trends in mental health consequences have begun to emerge among the general population (Serafini et al., 2020).
According to a recent article by Serafini et al. (2020), although there may be varied responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are several common psychological reactions to COVID-19 that are surfacing amongst the general population. These reactions include intense and uncontrolled fear related to infection, pervasive anxiety, frustration, boredom, and disabling loneliness. Understandably, psychological consequences included in these findings may impair an individual’s wellbeing and quality of life. Although this is the case, Serafini et al. (2020) note that an individual’s resilience and social support may be factors that can aid them in adapting to this crisis.
The recent findings of Serafini et al. (2020) provide further insight into the ways in which the COVID-19 pandemic may be impacting many. Although these findings may be challenging to acknowledge, these findings provide important information as we continue to battle the COVID-19 crisis. These findings may provide a source of important validation to many about their experiences and increase awareness about what steps may need to be taken on individual and societal levels to minimize the psychological consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. As discussed by Serafini et al. (2020) the recognition of these findings or the “the psychological impact of fear and anxiety induced by the rapid spread of pandemic needs to be clearly recognized as a public health priority for both authorities and policymakers” to reduce the mental health consequences of this pandemic.
Aydin, C. (2017). How to Forget the Unforgettable? On Collective Trauma, Cultural Identity, and Mnemotechnologies, Identity, 17:3, 125-137, DOI: 10.1080/15283488.2017.1340160
Saul, J. (2014). Collective trauma, collective healing: Promoting resilience in the aftermath of disaster. New York, NY: Routledge.
Serafini, G., Parmigian, B., Amerio, A., Aguglia, A., Sher, L., & Amore, M. (2020). The psychological impact of COVID-19 on the mental health in the general population. QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, 529-535, doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcaa201 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7337855/pdf/hcaa201.pdf