A year into the pandemic, it would seem that a lot of the “what ifs” are coming true. Therapists are hearing stories after a full year of grief, trauma and of course, loss. People are having to navigate a very unprecedented time, and this is worse than anything that could ever be imagined. The country will have to make sure that it grapples with any mental health concerns as this won’t disappear because people have had their jab. Countless surveys have been carried out, looking at things such as depression and anxiety.
Specific issues that affect certain populations have also been highlighted. This can include octogenarians who have been stuck at home and adolescents who are struggling to grasp the concept of using Zoom. 40% of Americans have reported depression or anxiety during the pandemic and this is up to four times higher than what it would have been before the pandemic.
The NAMI has reported a whopping 70% increase in phone calls when compared to just the year before and NAMI Seattle’s call volume has rocketed by 50%. Trying to pretend that the society can come out of this completely unscathed is harmful. People are going to be marked from this for a very long time, but it’s going to be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Pandemic Brain Fog
A lot of people are experiencing issues such as pandemic brain fog. This is inclusive of anxiety, depression and fatigue. Burnout is another feeling that is often experienced. This comes down to the dark evenings that have been experienced due to daylight saving time and of course, it also includes the new wave of cases too. The anniversary of when the first few cases seemed to rise conjured a lot of reactions. Some of them included despair and hopelessness. You also had a lot of anger at the restrictions that were in place. A lot of people have turned to marijuana to help them to deal with issues like this, and interestingly enough, CBD has also been prescribed to Covid-19 patients at the Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah, Israel.
The main thing that you have to remember is that the length of containment is far beyond what a lot of people thought it was going to be. Nobody was thinking that the entire society would have to close for a year and a lot of people are experiencing fatigue right now. They believe that it’s going to be over soon and there are hopes that it will be. That being said, the long-lasting mental effects of the pandemic are going to be with us for quite some time.
An Area of Concern
One major area of concern is the significant grief and loss that has been experienced as a result of the pandemic. This is way more pronounced amongst those who have actually lost loved ones and who have experienced first-hand the impact that it has had. Some therapists have been trying to offer more support to their clients but at the same time, this has been very difficult to do. They have found that in the earlier stages, it was much harder to give people the support they need as it is harder to operate over a webcam.
That being said, as the times have gone on, therapists have trained and adopted their ways of working to make sure that they are meeting the needs of their clients better. Therapists are now saying that they intend to host video sessions in the future over meeting clients in person. The main reason for this is because they feel as though they can serve more people per hour, and on top of this, they don’t need to worry as much about people not turning up and wasting a full session. They can schedule someone else within just a few minutes and this is helping them to really provide a fast and efficient service that ultimately, does not waver in quality.
It’s important to know that things are still difficult. Non-verbal cues are harder to monitor over camera and this is especially the case with marriage counselling. Couples have found the pandemic especially hard, and this is going to be putting even more pressure on therapists in the future.