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Effects Of Social Isolation On Mental Health

Effects Of Social Isolation On Mental Health

Social isolation can cause severe negative mental health impacts, including increasing depression and anxiety rates. When people become isolated from their friends, coworkers, family, and social activities, they can feel lonely and depressed. And the Covid-19 pandemic made us see how profound the negative effects of isolation can be.

What is social isolation?

Social isolation means a lack of social connections. Social connections refer to the relationships and interactions you have with friends, family, coworkers, etc. People may feel lonely when they are away from those who make their lives fun, which can lead to increase in anxiety and depression symptoms. Conversely, people with social connection (or social support) tend to have better mental health.

Impact of isolation on mental health during Covid-19 pandemic

At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, individuals with mental health issues suffered more than others. Depression and anxiety symptoms doubled during that time, according to clinical psychologists. And there was a call to find ways for people to cope mentally and physically amid the crisis.

The findings showed that depression and anxiety symptoms doubled especially in children and adolescents compared to the pre-pandemic era. Older adults also experienced a rise in depression and anxiety cases especially after the restrictions were imposed.

The reason is simple: when people are isolated from their school mates and coworkers, it becomes challenging for them as they feel lonelier than ever. Even if someone has mental health issues, they usually find a way to deal with the anxiety and depression while in school or among colleagues, socializing with others. This becomes impossible when they are socially isolated and kept away from their peers.

While in school, kids participated in several activities like sporting events, graduation ceremonies, and many more. Throughout the lockdown period until schools reopened, young people didn't have that opportunity to socialize.

People still live in isolation and are at risk of depression

Thankfully, things are back to normal and we can all socialize at our workplaces, school, or social events. Still, we can't ignore the thousands of people still in mental isolation. I say mental because, even while working and living among other people, there is no social connection between them.

A good example is an intern doctor in their first year of training far from home. Although they work long hours among other health professionals, the relationship isn't social in any way, and they become very stressed due to the intense work they are thrown into, far away from their loved ones. This set of people are at high risk of depression.

And there are people who feel already depressed, so they prefer to stay indoors, isolated from the world. As we have seen, this can increase the depression symptoms all the more.

So if you're at a low place in life right now, reaching out to friends and building social connections can help. It may seem like the last thing you want right now, but it may be all you need. If you feel no family member or friend can understand or you just don't know what to say to them, there's always a mental health expert only a call away. Get help today.

Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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