With the coronavirus pandemic forcing a compulsory lockdown on the world, the daily routine of so many people has been altered. While the measures taken are necessary to stop the spread of the virus, social distancing and self-isolation may have negative effects on some people –especially those who were massively affected by the lockdown. Some people might have lost their jobs due to the lockdown, some may have abandoned projects, some may have lost a loved one to the virus and others may be stuck at home with abusive spouse/parents. This means that besides paying extra attention to our physical health, we also have to watch out for telltale signs of mental health issues in our loved ones during the lockdown.
7 Telltale Signs of Mental Health Issues and Domestic Abuse
With research showing that over 14 million Americans alone suffer from depression, it is our obligation to make sure the numbers do not increase during the lockdown by recognising mental health issues on time and giving/getting help during the pandemic. To find out if a friend, relative or neighbour is experiencing mental health issues during the lockdown, here are tell-tale signs to look out for.
We all experience a little insomnia every now and then but with the present lockdown, sleeping is something that should be common and frequent considering there isn’t much else to do. So if you realise your loved one experiencing chronic sleeping troubles, it could be a tell-tale sign that he/she is depressed. Depression or anxiety often involves an inability to go to sleep, or waking up at night and staying awake until morning. You could find them awake and roaming around the house when they should be sleeping. This is often because their minds are filled with worrisome thoughts and they can’t rest. Over time, the lack of sleep will take its toll on them so once you notice this sign, act on it immediately.
Another major telltale sign of mental health issues is an appetite change. This could either be a loss of appetite or an uncharacteristic increase in appetite. Now with the lockdown, sleeping and eating have become default activities. However, if it seems your loved one is eating less because they lack the will or if it seems they are turning to food for comfort, it could be due to mental health issues. This appetite change should start raising concerns after a week of observation.
Lack of interest or withdrawal
A major telltale sign of mental health issues you should look out for during the lockdown is sudden loss of interest or withdrawal. A neighbour who has to stay indoors 24/7 with an abusive spouse or parents may suddenly withdraw into a shell. They won’t smile like before and when they do it will seem forced. They may wear more clothes and keep you at arms-length to prevent you from seeing scars or injuries. Also, they may lose interest in activities you know they used to love e.g. singing, dancing, cooking, and so on. If you notice your loved one is showing any of these signs, call for help immediately and let them know you care.
If your loved one who was always positive and quick to see the light at the end of the tunnel suddenly becomes very negative and pessimistic, it could be due to mental health issues. It could be that they make discouraging statements like “Scientists will never find the cure to the coronavirus”, or “The world will never heal from the effects of the virus” that will make you want to drift away from them. However, if you don’t help them out, this harmless display of negativity may grow into something more worrisome. Keep in mind that they might not even be aware of the change in them and if they don’t get help on time, the mental health issue may escalate.
Constant headaches and stomach cramps
Hearing your relative or neighbours constantly complain about headaches or stomach cramps during the lockdown may become tiring. You might even be tempted to wave it off, but you shouldn’t because it could be a sign of depression/anxiety. An anxious mind filled with worries and fears will ache constantly. Also, persistent cramps and digestive problems that do not stop, even after treatments, are telltale signs of mental health issues.
When a person has mental health issues, 80% of the time they stop caring about their appearance. With the lockdown and most people wearing sweat suits and pyjamas all day, our appearance might not be a top priority. However, if your loved one seems to have completely lost the zeal to practice proper hygiene (e.g. bathe, brush their teeth, comb their hair and change their clothes), according to the National Health Service of England, it could be a sign of mental health issues.
A troublesome sign of mental health issues is reckless behaviour. If your loved one is depressed due to loneliness, domestic abuse etc. you could find them stepping out of their homes without facemasks or gloves, or going out more frequently that is necessary. It could almost seem like they don’t care if they get the virus. Other reckless behaviours include substance abuse or compulsive gambling. They may also become defensive whenever you try to correct them.
What you do can about it?
Try talking to them or ask a person you believe they are closer to speak to them. Encourage them by telling them that the pandemic will be over and life will return to normal once again. If they have lost something to the pandemic, be there to comfort them. If you don’t think you have them skills to speak to them and require professional help, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Recognising these signs will help you protect and care for your loved ones during the pandemic and ensure you all make it through it!