How Covid-19 takes its toll on mental health

The fear of Covid-19, forced isolation, social distance, economic anxiety and the challenge of adapting to the “new normal” can trigger psychological stress. In a recent report, the World Health Organization warns of a looming mental illness crisis around the world resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The report identified segments of populations that are vulnerable to mental distress, including children and young people isolated from friends and school, healthcare workers who are surrounded by patients infected with and dying from Covid-19.

Psychologists say children are anxious and increases in cases of depression and anxiety have been recorded in several countries. The report also noted that vulnerable individuals with preexisting mental health disorders are likely to experience a relapse.

On Guam, the coronavirus contagion has kept the Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center’s crisis hotline busy. Clarissa Maniebo, a crisis hotline worker, sits by the phone to listen. “There have been a total of 609 phone calls to our hotline from March 16 to April 25,” said Maniebo, who has been a social worker for 14 years. She’s been providing assistance to the crisis hotline since the start of the pandemic on Guam in March.