Mental health, society and COVID-19

10 December 2020
Volume 29 · Issue 22

In some ways it is quite gratifying and in others it certainly is not. That is how I would characterise the prominence of emergent COVID-19-related mental health discourses. What is gratifying is that as a society and as professionals we want to flag up mental health and wellbeing, talk about the impacts of the crisis on mental health and wellbeing and guard against potentially negative mental health consequences. The impacts are many, from subjective personal stress and distress (finances, job security, social uncertainties, family/domestic issues), to key worker anxieties on being exposed to the virus, as well as the costs of loneliness, social isolation and undiagnosed and untreated mental illness. Even when treatment is implemented, it is at social distance, behind masks or via virtual contact on personal devices. That we are appearing to consider these sequelae of COVID-19 and its associated public health and political management are markers that we are aware and that it is OK to talk about these challenging issues for our collective and individual mental health and wellbeing.

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