The Effects of Social Distancing on Mental Health

Edirin Akonoghrere, Student

The whole world has been on lockdown since the advent of the corona virus disease. A new disease unknown to many of our top scientists and new to the rest of the world. The deadly disease wiping out populations in the thousands and some in the millions. In order to protect the rest of the world, many of the top governments deemed it right to lockdown the country for the safety of the people. I has been about a year of this precautionary lockdown and individuals as well as families have been home through out this time.

Humans are naturally social animals whose survival depends on their socialization with each other. This pandemic moved physical interaction to virtual interaction. Thankfully, technology has helped to ensure socialization is not entirely eradicated but unfortunately there is only so much virtual interaction can do. This lockdown forced us as humans to remain in a confined space for an extended period of time, making us repeat the same things every day. This repetition has affected the mental health of many people gravely.

The news stations have been flooded with stories of individuals taking their lives and resulting to drugs to survive this lockdown. People with underlying mental health conditions were majorly affected and have had a hard time coping. Students who have had to continue schooling from a distance with nothing but virtual help from their professors are having a hard time managing through it. Individuals who have jobs too have had similar experiences.

This pandemic heightened mental health situations in a good number of people. Some people have said that the solitude and isolation helped them on their personal journey and gave them a new sense or reality. On the other hand, others have found the solitude detrimental to their survival mentally. The loneliness with one’s self has forced many of them to encounter personal demons which they spent their whole lives avoiding.

Young children who grow better and learn more from playing with their peers and going out have left their learning and growth to imagination and the internet. When the children then come in contact with that situation or that object it becomes a weird encounter for them. I think to an extent their mental health would be affected in the way they view the world. Many attributes that people express as adults were learnt in childhood and I believe this pandemic might affect those children.

The pandemic in general has changed our lives in different ways we cannot imagine. Life might never really be the same again, many might never go to the same lifestyle again. If ever life goes back to what it used to be, it might take years. Institutions and organizations have now, more than ever, infused virtual life into their system and this would definitely change their mode of delivery and their way of life. Masks have become the new normal and would not be an anomaly to spot someone with it in public.

COVID-19 has made a severe and unforgettable impact in all our lives as individuals and as a species. It has made its impact in our way of life and most especially in our thinking. Some the effects mentally might take us some more time to realize, but eventually it would be made known to us.