The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has taken a significant toll on the mental well-being of many, leading to a greater need and demand for mental health services. Beyond anxiety over catching the virus, stress related to the pandemic has also been rooted in other factors, such as homelessness, evictions, and addiction. As a result, greater support for mental health and access to services and resources are necessary while the pandemic continues to be a significant part of our everyday lives. Even as we prepare to recover from it, the impact that the pandemic has had on mental health may be long-lasting.
As a community service worker, it’s important to understand how a pandemic can have serious psychological effects on people, and how to act as a support to those affected during this unprecedented situation. Here’s why mental health services are likely to be in higher demand, explained for those studying to become a community service worker.
How Mental Health Struggles Related to COVID-19 Can Manifest Themselves
Given the rate at which the novel coronavirus is spreading around the world, and the widespread lockdowns and business closures that have ensued as a result, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to feelings of isolation among many people. Those who have been in quarantine at their homes for long periods of time may have experienced feelings of anxiety and depression, particularly after long stretches spent alone. This is in addition to factors such as job loss or layoffs, economic hardships, homelessness, evictions, or any other life-altering consequence of the pandemic. Any of these factors can result in an increase in distress, and a greater demand for mental health services.
Addiction Rates and Relapses Have Been Increasing During the Pandemic
Students earning a community service worker diploma learn about implementing addiction treatment programs. Right now and in the coming years, people may be in greater need of help in this domain as a result of the pandemic.
The use of alcohol and drugs, particularly opioids and cannabis, has increased as a result of the ongoing pandemic and its many consequences. In many cases, people are turning to substance use as a coping mechanism during these difficult times. Although these activities may relieve stress and boredom in the short-term, they can lead to negative effects on one’s mental and physical health. More specifically, one’s feelings of depression can worsen from long-term alcohol use. The effects of depression, anxiety, and PTSD can also become more pronounced as a result of opioid and other addictions.
How Can Someone with a Community Service Worker Diploma Help Those Affected?
Regardless of what happens between now and the end of the pandemic, the potential long-term consequences for mental health should not be ignored. The pandemic will eventually end, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be lasting effects on people’s lives and mental well-being because of it. So how does someone who’s completed a community service worker program work to address this?
For one, community service workers should be sure to act as a supportive, compassionate presence to the many people who turn to them for help. They should try to be responsive to their needs, and discuss what steps can be taken to improve their circumstances.
Additionally, those impacted should be pointed in the direction of resources that can help them during this time, especially if they are in need of employment or housing. Although there’s no easy solution to completely overcoming feelings of psychological distress during the pandemic, these are some strategies a community service worker can use to help those in need of immediate support.
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