Mental health is one of the main and most important elements to live a happy and healthy life. Unfortunately, the mental health of some people is fragile and can be easily affected. Michelle Obama once said “our mental health seriously affects our physical health. So there should be no stigma around mental health, none at all.”
Social isolation and self-isolation was one of the many restrictions that occurred during the times of quarantine. So how did isolation affect our mental health?
Firstly, lockdown caused people to feel stressed, anxious and hopeless. As shown by statistics from the Mental Health Foundation in the UK, mental health issues began to increase immensely in both students and adults with 33% of adults feeling scared of losing their jobs, as well as 45% of students losing hope of passing the grade. This research was done only one month into lockdown and, by the end of July, more than half of the population reported that they felt worried or stressed.
Dr. Karestan Koenen, a professor of psychiatric epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, states that “kids take their lead from their parents,” meaning that if children see their parents stressed, then they will eventually begin to feel stressed too. Additionally, students were still trying to manage their school life at home, but seeing the hardships their parents were going through, their priorities shifted from “schoolwork and homework (…) to worries about their own health and that of their family.”
Isolation leads to negative emotions because human beings need to interact and socialize with one another. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, a professor of psychology and neuroscience, mentioned on her meta-analysis that a “lack of social connection heightens health risks as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or having alcohol use disorder.”
Keeping this in mind, we now need to help our close ones more than ever as we all unfortunately have to go through this. As JK Rowling stated “happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”