The pandemic has created a mental health crisis. There’s been a surge in the need for therapy sessions. And now that more people are facing a diagnosis for the first time, it’s sparking a feeling of defeat that psychologists are noticing among specific groups who catch COVID.
Dr. Andrea Taylor, a psychologist with UT Physicians and McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, works with COVID patients.
She said she most commonly sees anxiety and frustration after diagnosis, but for some people, it really can lead to depression or a sense of feeling defeated. When that feeling lasts longer than two weeks, it could be a sign of clinical depression that needs intervention.
“Depressed mood, lots of interest in things. It also affects things like appetite, sleep, decision making, motivation, all of those things that can then affect our functioning,” Taylor explained.
Those seemingly more at risk include the senior population and, she said, pregnant women.
Taylor said people that have lived in isolation or done everything in their power not to get COVID and still get sick can feel particularly depressed with a positive test.
Lindsey Brann of Missouri City is married to a KPRC 2 employee and she was pregnant when she got diagnosed with COVID. She said it was depressing because she felt isolated and worried for her baby’s future.
“My job as a mom is to protect my baby and I felt like I couldn’t protect my baby because I was exposed to something that I did everything in my power to try and not be exposed to,” Brann explained.
Taylor’s advice if you do get sick is to take care of your mental health by focusing on what’s within your control: taking medication for symptoms, eating right and staying hydrated are a few examples.
“Focusing on coping instead of focusing on ‘it didn’t work.’ I think that is one way to kind of help keep people on track,” Taylor said.
If you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide, Taylor recommends calling the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text 741-741.