The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a mental health crisis worldwide, and we, Singaporeans, have been impacted by it too. The devastating effects of the pandemic are apparent in almost everyone’s daily lives, increasing the number of people suffering from anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders.
A study conducted by the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) stated that between May 2020 to June 2021, around 13% of Singapore’s population suffered from anxiety or depression. Even as Singaporean are living a physically healthier life, the epidemic is taking a toll on their mental health.
Factors Affecting Singaporeans’ Mental Health
The pandemic has altered our lives in various ways. The fear of infection is always looming, forcing us to alter our daily routines. We are confined to our homes to protect our health and that of our loved ones. This makes us feel disconnected from the people close to us, depriving us of a basic human need that plays an important role in our mental well-being.
The IMH study also found that the three main stress factors that contributed to mental health issues that contributed in Singaporeans during the pandemic are: financial loss, unemployment, and the fear of family or friends contracting COVID-19.
But that’s not all! The economic uncertainty has also raised the level of anxiety in people from all types of households. With fewer jobs in the market, people are struggling to find work. And when they do, they need to put in extra efforts to retain their job. This further disrupts the family life and creates marital tensions. This is a chain reaction that led people to feeling lonely and depressed.
Common Mental Health Issues
Mental health issues can disrupt our mood, thinking, and behavior. In addition, they can make it challenging for us to maintain healthy relationships, perform well at our jobs, and function normally in life.
Some of the common mental health issues that people face include:
A mood disorder in which a person feels a loss of interest, low energy, and constant tiredness. Depression is often confused with sadness; however, the difference is that sadness is temporary and specific to an incident, whereas depression can be prolong and even even arise from hormonal imbalances or a traumatic incident.
People suffering from depression feel a lot of negative thoughts and struggle with worthlessness. In extreme cases, depression can lead to suicidal thoughts. This is why it is important to treat this condition.
This self-help quiz can help you assess if you have depression.
People with anxiety disorders constantly feel tense, worried, and often nervous. They avoid meeting new people or unfamiliar situations because they can’t handle the pressure that comes with it. In mild cases, anxiety can be unsettling, but in extreme cases, it can result in health issues, such as high blood pressure, stomach ulcers or digestive problems.
Mild cases of anxiety can be managed with counselling and other coping methods. Intense cases of anxiety may require medication. Take this quiz to find out the level of your anxiety.
Isolation and stress during COVID-19 have led some Singaporeans to turn to drinking and binge-watching to escape from their problems and loneliness. With stress levels on the rise due to economic instability, boredom and aimless, people overindulge in technology and alcohol to fill the missing gaps in their life.
Digital and alcohol addictions may inadvertently raise anxiety and stress levels further, manifesting in physiological symptoms, like sleeplessness, acid reflux, and loss of concentration.
Mild forms of addiction can be managed through counselling and support. Severe addictions may require require rehabilitation services. You may wish to consult the National Addiction Management Service (NAMS).