Speaking with patients who have experienced COVID-19 and are recovering after hospitalization has provided dynamic insights on the mental health impact having the virus has had on them. Many patients have expressed a change in their mental health with new and increasing fear, stress, and anxiety. One patient stated “I feel lucky to be here,” while others expressed grieving the loss of loved ones and concerns of the long term affects on their mental health from what they have experienced due to having had COVID-19.
We have seen an increase in mental health awareness since the beginning of the pandemic and it is important to continue encouraging the community to advocate for one another and provide resources to those in need. Not only for those that have directly experienced COVID-19, but the families and health care providers as well. A survey completed in September of 2020 noted that 76% of healthcare workers are exhausted and experiencing burnout. We also hear it from the participants in clubhouse rooms that we have moderated where this was a recurring theme. It appears that emotional and physical exhaustion that will have lasting impacts. An article posted by the University of Utah estimates that more than half of the healthcare workers will experience mental health problems due to COVID-19. It is important during this time to give compassion and empathy to the people around you, provide support when able, and give resources to those in need.