October Update: The Psychological Impact of COVID-19

The Covid-Minds Network tracks research related to the impact of COVID-19 on mental health across the world. Every month, we list five key findings from recent research.

So far, we have learnt that in the early months of the pandemic, mental health and wellbeing significantly worsened as the pandemic escalated. However, there were signs of improvement over the course of national lockdowns and as restrictions eased. Certain groups have been more affected than others, especially young adults, females, and individuals from black, Asian and ethnic minority groups. Working parents and those with financial problems have been at risk of worsening mental health. Individuals can potentially improve their mental health by absorbing less media content related to COVID-19 and adopting certain behaviours and attitudes that have shown to make a positive difference. For example, having gratitude, performing altruistic actions, following daily routines, and spending time outdoors have helped reduce emotional distress. For more information, see our August and September blog posts.

This month, we’ve investigated what the impact of COVID-19 has been on the prevalence of loneliness and the rate of suicide. We’ve also outlined evidence for the psychological effects of COVID-19 infection, as well as the role physical activity can play in buffering against poor mental health. Finally, we examined COVID-19-related mental health inequalities among black, Asian, and minority ethnic groups.