Study on Pandemic and Mental Health Reveals Few Surprises
A recently released study looking into the mental health impact of the COVID pandemic offers very few surprises to those of us in the mental health field. Rather, it confirms what many of us have believed since the start of the pandemic. Study data also confirms the need to ramp up global efforts to support people still struggling with the pandemic’s aftermath.
On a larger scale, the study also reveals how certain types of events can have a global impact on mental health. The COVID pandemic was obviously a worldwide event. It touched every continent. It directly impacted billions of people. For anyone to expect such a serious event would pass without any mental health consequences demonstrates a lack of understanding about how the mind works.
What the Study Revealed
Although the study revealed few surprises, its data is still important to behavioral health management and mental health consulting. That being the case, let’s look at some of the data.
For starters, the study was conducted as a survey among more than 400,000 participants in sixty-four countries. Survey participants were asked questions about mental wellbeing, friendships, family relationships, and more.
Researchers utilized a 300-point scoring system known as the ‘mental health quotient’ to determine how survey respondents were faring as the urgency of the COVID pandemic faded. They discovered that average scores have fallen by some 33 points over the last several years. More alarmingly, the scores have shown very little recovery since 2021.
The study also revealed that young people between the ages of 18 and 24 are facing some of the most significant mental health problems. This particular age group reports greater difficulty maintaining meaningful relationships, getting along with family members, and dealing with conflict and family instability.
Mental Health and Relationships Are Linked
Perhaps the most important aspect of the study is the link it is able to establish between relationships and mental health. As a behavioral health management company advising clinicians and healthcare facilities, we acknowledge that the mental health community has long known this link exists. This most recent study presents data that further proves it.
When people feel a lack of meaningful relationships, they also tend to report lower mental health scores. Individuals who report conflict and instability within their families tend also to report more mental health problems.
There is an important lesson here about people struggling with mental health issues. The lesson is one that mental health management companies learned long ago – patients are more than just statistics on a page. They are more than just a revenue source. Patients are human beings, and relational human beings at that.
Relationships Are a Core Need
Relationships are a core need for human beings. Whether you believe in the big bang, creationism, or some other explanation for the origins of humanity, one cannot deny that people need to maintain relationships to survive. They are at the very core of who and what we are.
We must also never forget that relationships are at the core of mental health services, too. Not only are patients dealing with their own personal relationships, but they enter relationships with their therapists as well. Relationships exist between all the people who are in any way involved in a patient’s care.
No doubt the pandemic has had a profound impact on physical health worldwide. But it has also had a profound impact on mental health. Could it be that lingering mental health problems will be the greater legacy left behind when the dust settles and the history is written? Perhaps so. COVID’s fallout could leave a permanent scar on mental health worldwide.
Let’s Get to Work, Together
Contact us to learn more about how Horizon Health can help you start a behavioral health program or take an existing program to new heights.