Covid-19 And Mental Health

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is a viral disease caused by the virus named SARS-CoV-2. It was first discovered in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan in China. After that, the virus quickly spread all over the world, being responsible for millions of deaths.

SARS-CoV-2 is a virus that mostly attacks the lungs and respiratory tract, causing respiratory symptoms. It can spread quite fast but will cause mild disease in most parts of the population. However, older people and people with certain health conditions can become extremely ill and even die from the infection. 

Vaccines have been developed to prevent COVID-19 infection or to help reduce the symptoms and severity of the illness and have been applied all over the world with good results.1

Symptoms of COVID-19

Most parts of COVID-19 symptoms are respiratory, but the disease can also present digestive tract symptoms or general symptoms.

The most common symptoms are:

  • High temperature and chills
  • Cough
  • Breathlessness
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Blocked or runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loose stools
  • Loss of appetite

These symptoms are very alike flu and cold symptoms, and it is difficult to identify the cause unless a test is done.1,2

Health anxiety and hypochondria

Healthy anxiety, hypochondria, or illness anxiety disorder are names given to the extreme and sometimes exaggerated fear of being or becoming ill. People with health anxiety are constantly worried about their health and sometimes even think they are having symptoms of different diseases. These people often go to the doctors and look for reassurance regarding their health, even looking exhaustively for online health content.

It can lead to the belief that some typical body sensations like feeling tired, muscle twitching, muscle pain, and others can be due to severe diseases and lead to severe life distress.3,4

Post-pandemic health anxiety

It is not a surprise that the pandemic caused by COVID-19 has increased health anxiety and anxiety in general in society. People were fearing for the unknown, and stress and worry are normal human reactions in the face of threats.

Adding to all of this, there was also the change in daily life that people were experiencing. Social isolation, limitation in movement, working from home, home-schooling, and lack of physical contact and physical activity all impacted people’s mental health status.

The fear of being infected by the COVID-19 virus and all the measures to avoid it increased health anxiety. Even people who did not present certain tendencies had to be meticulously cautious during the pandemic to avoid spreading and getting the virus. This triggered behaviours that lead to hypochondria in several individuals and affect their lives even now when life is coming back to normal.5

What did the pandemic teach us about mental health care?

It was clear that the pandemic negatively impacted people’s mental health. The combination of stress and anxiety generated by the possibility of getting the virus and the measures taken to avoid it to spread have triggered symptoms of anxiety and depression in a considerable part of the population.6

It was clear that prioritising mental health and ways to manage distress and isolation was essential to maintain a healthy life. Millions of people have died or lost loved ones, lost their jobs, and have had to manage their child’s education at home. Families were split and we were kept away from our loved ones. It was all a lot to deal with at the same time.

People have had to develop strategies to try coping and avoid getting mentally ill:

  • Connect with people
  • Take care of your body and physical health
  • Try to have a good sleep pattern
  • Take care of others
  • Talk about your feelings and worries
  • Do things you enjoy
  • Focus on the present and facts7

If you’re worried about your or your loved one’s mental health

If you are worried about someone you love, first of all, it is important to understand how you can help them. Expressing your concerns and offering your help is always the first step, but some other strategies can be taken:

  • Act normally - don’t let the other person feel that you are acting different and in a strange way next to them
  • Reassure them - help them feel confident with your support
  • Listen - sometimes it is all the other person needs
  • Be patient - everyone has their own time in dealing with things and asking for help
  • If they don’t want support, don’t force it - try to understand their reasons without pushing them
  • Offer help with practical things - sometimes small and kind gestures of care are all they need to go through8


COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus that produces mostly respiratory symptoms. It was discovered in China in 2019 and has spread all over the world, causing a pandemic that has left millions dead.

The fear of being infected and the social measures taken to avoid it to spread have caused irreversible mental health issues within our society. Depression and anxiety have increased among our population and it was clear that taking care of mental health is one of the priorities from now on.

Measures to connect with others, enjoy life, and take care of your body, health, sleep, and mindfulness are being stimulated to avoid people from getting mentally ill. It is also very important that if you notice someone around you who is struggling, to offer your support as much as you can. 


  1. CDC. Covid-19 and your health [Internet]. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020 [cited 2022 Sep 26].
  2. Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms in adults [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2022 Sep 26].
  3. Illness anxiety disorder - Symptoms and causes [Internet]. Mayo Clinic. [cited 2022 Sep 26].
  4. Health anxiety [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2022 Sep 26].
  5. Mental health and COVID-19 [Internet]. [cited 2022 Sep 26].
  6. Psychiatry TL. COVID-19 and mental health. The Lancet Psychiatry [Internet]. 2021 Feb 1 [cited 2022 Sep 27];8(2):87.
  7. Worried about coronavirus? Tips to help manage anxiety - Every Mind Matters [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2022 Sep 27].
  8. Helping others with mental health problems - Every Mind Matters [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2022 Sep 27].

Renata Barbosa Rebuitti

Bachelor's Degree in Medicine,Federal University of Minas Gerais

Renata is a medical doctor passionate about her work and science. Currently exploring medical writing and medical communications. She loves to share information and scientific knowledge. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818