Job loss, a key fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, is a strong emotional trigger. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly 43 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since the pandemic began. Data suggests that 42% people report anxiety and 36% depression. The pandemic has most affected the people between ages 18 to 29.
COVID-19 also has compounded long-existing social and health disparities that affect Black men, which could be exacerbated by depression. Recent statistics from the U.S Department of Labor indicate the rate of unemployment for Black workers continues to increase, while the jobless rate for white workers declines. And people of color face higher rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity, which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, makes them 12 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those without those conditions.
According to CDC, stress during an infectious disease outbreak can sometimes cause fear and worry about health and the health of your loved ones, financial situation or job, or loss of support services. The effects can also extend to changes in sleep or eating patterns, difficulty sleeping or concentrating, worsening of chronic health problems and worsening of mental health conditions.
Studies also state that the effect of the pandemic can be more on men than women. Job loss, a key fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, is a strong emotional trigger for men. According to Yavar Moghimi, M.D., a behavioral health medical director for AmeriHealth Caritas, “Men frequently have much of their self-worth tied up in their work. That makes times of high unemployment, when a new job is much harder to come by, particularly hard on their psychological well-being. Additionally, too often men consider talking about and seeking help for depression to be a sign of weakness. Combine these, and it is clear why depression in men should be taken seriously.”
People with pre-existing mental health conditions or substance use disorders may be particularly vulnerable in an emergency, states CDC. Mental health conditions (such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia) affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood or behaviour in a way that influences their ability to relate to others and function each day. These conditions may be situational (short-term) or long-lasting (chronic). People with preexisting mental health conditions should continue with their treatment and be aware of new or worsening symptoms.
Governments also suggest that the most common emotion faced by many fear. It makes people anxious, panicky and can even possibly make them think, say or do things that might not be considered appropriate under normal circumstances.
Experts opine that knowledge is power and the more one knows about a certain issue, the less fearful they feel. But, it is essential to ensure to access and believe only the most reliable sources of information for self-protection.