A little over a year into this global pandemic, we reflect on some of the less obvious backlashes that so many have had to endure. Specifically, we look at the ensuing mental health crisis associated with Covid-19. Stats and figures help us quantify how impactful this virus has been on all of us, but in some domains such as mental health, it becomes increasingly difficult to grasp how detrimental this pandemic has been.
From all generations, we've witnessed a surge in mental health deterioration. With social isolation, economic uncertainty, and career prospects halted, people's mental health has been chipped at for far too long. Under such conditions, our global society encounters rising rates of depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and domestic violence, to name a few.
Amongst Gen-Z, loss of work and income, school closure, and social isolation have manifested into much higher rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, and drug abuse. For instance, one study reveals that a much larger share of young adults (56%) report "symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorder". Compared to all adults, young adults are more likely to report drug abuse at 25% and suicidal thoughts at 26%. Unable to find work or recently laid off, young generations and notably Gen-Zs are losing self-esteem and resorting to harmful coping mechanisms.
With this mental health epidemic quickly ensuing, we must be aware of the impact this global pandemic has also had on peoples' mental condition. In doing so, we must deliver ways to aid, treat, and rehabilitate individuals into a more regular functioning global society. While the end of Covid-19 may be within reach, its mental health consequences will continue to haunt us for years to come unless we find ways to cope and treat our issues.
Within the workplace, mental health must be placed as a core pillar of employee wellness. Further attention must be spent on crafting comprehensive mental healthcare benefit programs. As we reenter a post-pandemic society, employers and companies must be more accomodating and understanding of peoples' mental health conditions. Individuals will experience a new learning curve as they return to the workplace. Many will still experience high levels of trauma and stress. As such, more resources must be dedicated to aiding these individuals to ensure they don't resort to poor pandemic habits.
In recent times, many studies have been completed on alternative methods to treat certain mental health conditions. While antidepressants and other prescribed medication have been at the forefront of treating depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts, psychedelic drugs have gained considerable traction due to their significant healing potential.
With more research and experimentation being done on the effects of Psilocybin or LSD on the brain, scientists are making breakthrough discoveries in the realm of mental health. Moreover, physicians and therapists have found that Psilocybin mushrooms or LSD may be highly effective drugs in treating depression.
Additionally, these substances are seemingly non-addictive and require little usage for long-lasting results. The same may not be said of traditional anti-depressants. Psychedelics are unique in that they generate what is known as neurogenesis. In essence, this means that these drugs allow for the formation of new neural pathways between different sections of the brain. For instance, once Psilocybin metabolizes to Psilocin it fits a serotonin receptor that ultimately leads to increase brain activity. In turn, this allows individuals to approach their issues quite differently, sometimes proving to be a healthy way of coping with depression.
As psychedelic products become more mainstream and heavily researched, the therapeutical mental health industry may witness and revolutionary method to treat poor mental health. If proven to be effective, these new methods will hugely benefit those whose mental health suffered due to the Covid-19 pandemic.