Corona Virus and It's Impact on Mental Health
By Emily Kline
Switzerland has been ranked number one as one of the safest countries for managing the coronavirus. The key to their ranking has as much to do with their fast response to the virus as it does with their government’s concern for civilians’ mental health. By prioritizing the safety and mental health of their people Switzerland earned a loyal public that was willing to listen to safety procedures without protest. As stated by Minister Alain Berset their success in keeping their country safe was due to, ‘the constant search for a path acceptable to all. This approach proved its worth during the crisis.’ Switzerland’s secret to success was their early lockdown and intense testing and tracing of the coronavirus during their quarantine. Unlike other countries, Switzerland considered their people’s mental health, and quickly found a solution for their people. They did not ignore the seriousness of the coronavirus, but they also did not ignore the importance of their citizens’ health. Countries like France and Italy were not allowed to go outside during quarantine, but Switzerland allowed its citizens to exercise. This is because they understood the positive effects activity has on people both physically and mentally.
In contrast, according to the CDC, “Symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably in the United States during April–June of 2020”. This was due to the country's lack of organization during the early days of quarantine. Testing did not come available to the public until months after Americans were exposed. Not to mention that most Americans were in isolation for three months with no foreseeable positive change for months to come. The government’s unorganized efforts and lack of gravity for the situation caused many Americans to ignore social distancing rules. Americans’ response to the pandemic caused us to quarantine for longer causing loneliness among many. Additionally, the government’s lack of organization and communication led to a decrease in civilians’ healthy mental well-being. According to Chidambaram, author of the article The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use, the former U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, “has brought attention to the widespread experience of loneliness as a public health concern in itself, pointing to its association with reduced lifespan and greater risk of both mental and physical illnesses”.
As mental health problems continued to rise amid the pandemic, the World Health Organization responded with their campaign #HealthyAtHome. On their website under the hashtag Healthy At Home, they have listed ways that one can improve their mental health on their own during the pandemic. Some of their suggestions: have a routine, minimize newsfeeds, limit alcohol and drug use, etc. They also have other categories within the topic that can help people with exercise, parenting, diet, and quitting tobacco. With no end in sight, we should take into consideration ways that we can help increase our positive mentalities and others. Take a hike at your local park, eat a vegetable, be kind. You never know what a socially distanced conversation with a stranger or a random facetime chat with a friend or family member can do for their well-being and yours.
Emily Kline is an editorial intern who is passionate and knowledgeable about fashion, beauty, and women empowerment.