Effects of the Pandemic on Mental Health

Trigger Warning: Suicide Ideation

This is my bed, pillows, my MacBook, a teddy rabbit, a candle, a bottle of water, a glass and a couple of books to the side.

This is where I have been for three months and in these three months, the only people I have seen are: My parents and brother, I’ve left my house approximately less than 15 times since December otherwise I’ve been in my room the entire time. Can you give a guess as to what’s happened to my mental well-being? Don’t worry, I’m in therapy. Still, in this image I can’t help but think about the privileges I have, I also can’t help but think about how that almost accounts for nothing because they are material asserts, my mental state has still been affected. Mental illnesses don’t discriminate, rich or not, educated or not anyone can get it.

”During the COVID-19 pandemic, concerns about mental health and substance use have grown, including concerns about suicidal ideation. ”

Are you that surprised that suicide ideation has crossed people’s minds? Some people have no one. Some students are stuck in their accommodation, unable to go home & have no one to talk to. Humans aren’t meant to be alone, not this long. Prolonged isolation and touch deprivation are not healthy for the body and mind because it breeds loneliness and other mental complications. Little things like having your friends right next to you, hugging can make a big difference. 

Benefits of hugs

  • Helps you feel connected. Hugging helps connect you to others and can reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Boosts your mood
  • Releases tension from the body
  • Hugs release oxytocin a happy hormone
”Mul why don’t you just hug your family?”
If you’re African like me but have had your parents tell you they love you and have given you a genuine hug. Congratulations, you’ve beat the odds.

When is oxytocin released?

  • Positive physical contact (cuddling, kissing, hugging, holding hands, etc.)
  • Social bonding (talking, making eye contact, laughing, etc.)

I mean I haven’t had any of that in 7 months…but like I’m totally fine oh yeah, so fine. I SAID I’M FINE 🥲

…Where was I? Ah! Of course!

A lot has happened during the pandemic beyond anxiety and depression. There has been a rise in substance use, people who didn’t have any preexisting mental illnesses have them now, a rise in loneliness, domestic violence, suicide ideation, suicide, death etc. I’m just spreading awareness of what is going on and to be kind. You never really know what someone may be going through at face value. Be kind, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

If you’re going through this you’re not alone, as cliche as it may sound. Someone out there is more than likely going through the same thing you are and remember there’s always a helping hand, your sadness and heartache won’t last. I promise it gets better and I promise you’ll be okay, just hold on. Please hold on and continue to do whatever puts a smile on your face.

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