COVID-19 & Mental Health: Many People Lonelier Now Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic by 30Seconds Health

Mental Health
5 months ago
COVID-19 & Mental Health: Many People Lonelier Now Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic

Four in 10 Americans are lonelier now than ever before as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to new research. A survey of 1,055 Americans asked respondents to think about how the outbreak is affecting them and revealed it’s caused loneliness to hit new heights for 44 percent of those surveyed.

And these feelings of loneliness were found to be part of a wider effect: If social distancing and quarantining continues, a fifth of respondents (19 percent) said it will have major implications for their mental health.

Commissioned by University of Phoenix, the survey found Americans have a wide variety of concerns at the current moment, with health – mental and physical – first on the list.

Study Finding

  • Results revealed respondents’ top concern to be their loved one’s health (71 percent), followed by their own (61 percent).
  • Other respondents were worried about experiencing increased anxiety (41 percent) and not being able to pay bills (33 percent) as a result of the pandemic.
  • Three in 10 were concerned about missing out on celebrating milestones, while 27 percent were worried about feeling prolonged loneliness or depression.
  • With so much unpredictability, 68 percent said they feel like everything is out of their control — and 53 percent of respondents wish they had tips on how to better take care of their mental health during this time.

Fighting Back

But the survey, conducted by The Harris Poll, found some respondents are taking steps in the right direction. To maintain – or improve – their mental health:

  • Six in 10 have checked in with a loved one, while 35 percent are exercising more.
  • Three in 10 recognize the importance of self-care while staying informed and are therefore limiting their news consumption.
  • Other steps respondents are taking for their mental health include planning for a post-pandemic future (30 percent) and performing acts of kindness for others (29 percent).

“While many people only associate negative feelings with social distancing, there can be several benefits embedded in such opportunities,” says Dr. Dean Aslinia, counseling department chair, University of Phoenix. “Reach out to an old friend, but instead of texting or emailing, make a phone call or use video chat to build a more meaningful connection. Build activity in your day by trying something new or setting a small goal for yourself. Start a new fun project or challenge that you can share with friends or loved ones. Engaging in activities and interacting with people that uplift you is important for maintaining mental health in uncertain times.”

But not only is mental health important right now, so is physical health. In more good news, 59 percent of respondents report “always” following the social distancing guidelines, while 31 percent are following them most of the time.

Almost half (47 percent) of those surveyed believe social distancing guidelines will continue to be in place between two to three months while 27 percent believe it’ll be four months or longer.

“Feelings of loneliness are not solely due to isolation or social distancing,” says Dr. Aslinia. “Some of the challenge is that our connections are not emotionally fulfilling and are increasingly less personal, genuine, and may be void of real empathy. Technology overuse, impersonal interactions and choosing to interact with people that are not healthy for us all lead to loneliness. If something good can come from this pandemic, we can hopefully recognize the need for meaningful contact.”

What the Respondents Are Doing to Improve Mental Health

  • 60 percent checked in with a loved one 
  • 35 percent increased exercise 
  • 30 percent limited news consumption 
  • 30 percent planned for the future (for after the pandemic is over) 
  • 29 percent performed acts of kindness for others 

Respondents' Top Concerns As a Result of COVID-19

  • 71 percent said a loved one's health
  • 61 percent said their own health
  • 41 percent said experiencing increased anxiety 
  • 33 percent said not being able to pay bills
  • 30 percent said missing out on celebrating milestones (birthdays, graduations) 
  • 27 percent said feeling prolonged loneliness or depression
  • 26 percent said reduced job salary/work hours 
  • 22 percent said losing job/not being able to get another job 
  • 19 percent said kids missing school and backsliding in their education 
  • 8 percent said not being able to finish education

The information on 30Seconds.com is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and should not be considered medical advice. The information provided through this site should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, and is not a substitute for professional care. Always consult your personal healthcare provider.

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Elisa A. Schmitz 30Seconds
This is so true. Thank goodness for digital tools like FaceTime and Zoom that help us stay in touch with our loved ones. I miss so many people. Hang in there, everyone. We can get through this, together.
Julie Rose
Not surprising. Sending love. ❤️

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