Mental Health and COVID-19; Anxiety, Suicide, and Eating Disorders

Mental Health and COVID-19; Anxiety, Suicide, and Eating Disorders

In this time of uncertainty, people tend to look at COVID-19 as the only thing to worry about; however, there is a whole other beast that many people tend to push to the wayside, mental health. The COVID-19 epidemic is causing many people to develop acute anxiety and stress disorders, while also worsening mental health disorder for people with preexisting conditions. 

While everyone is at risk for developing these conditions, there are some people who are far more susceptible, including older people who are at risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus, people helping during the outbreak; nurses, doctors, first responders; children and teens, and those with preexisting conditions.  Most of these conditions develop from worrying for themselves or loved ones during this pandemic. The best thing for people to do when these feelings spark is to disconnect from the news and connect with those you trust. Take a break from monitoring statistics and talk to those you love. For parents who worry about their children, the CDC recommends you to reassure them that they are safe, limit their news coverage, and be a role model for them in this time. If you are unsure and worried about your child, signs to watch for (per the CDC) are excessive crying in young children, excessive sadness, unhealthy eating and sleeping, avoidance of activities they’ve enjoyed in the past, and difficulty concentrating. 

Feelings of suicide may also heighten during this time in many teens and young adults. Experts say that social distancing and quarantining are both things that can trigger those already managing suicidal ideation. Research also shows the “economic fallout” from the pandemic may trigger some people after the outbreak. Getting laid off from work and financial uncertain are also factors influencing suicidal ideas. 

Mental health professionals are working with their patients through this epidemic. While they can’t open their doors for in-person therapy sessions, many psychologists and therapists are operating over the phone trying to provide the best possible service for their patients. 

Other people are struggling with eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia. Many people already struggle with these, and in this time their struggles intensify. The prevailing conversation around stock-piling food, food shortages, and the stay at home order can be distressing and triggering. People sometimes resort to eating disorders as a way to feel more in control. If you or someone you love are battling an eating disorder, there are many things you can do or encourage them to do. Try switching off social media and the news, drawing or creating art, or talk to someone you trust. 


National Alliance on Mental Illness (Anxiety Hotline): 1-800-950-9264

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

National Eating Disorder Association Hotline: 1-800-931-2237