Cover A new study has found that Covid-19 survivors are more likely to suffer from mental health disorders after infection (Photo: Courtesy of Getty)

A new study found that even mild cases of Covid-19 can lead to an increase in mental health issues

If you’ve been struggling with your mental health during the pandemic, you’re not alone. What’s more, a new study has shown that contracting the virus could also increase one’s mental health problems. 

Aiming to look into the long-term mental health effects of Covid-19 survivors, the study found that Covid-19 patients are more prone to a variety of mental health disorders such as anxiety, stress and sleep disorders, as well as depressive episodes. These patients are people who have contracted and survived the SARS-CoV-2 virus, including those who had mild symptoms. 

See also: How to Open Up About Mental Health to Friends and Family

Increased Mental Health Risk in Numbers

Published on UK-based medical journal BMJ in February 2022, the study was conducted by researchers at the VA St. Louis Health Care System in the US, and looked into 153,848 people who recovered from Covid-19 at least once between March 2020 and January 2021. 

This group was compared to two other control groups: data from people before the pandemic era in March 2018 to January 2019, and more recent data from people who had never contracted the virus but experienced other pandemic-induced challenges including lockdown, unemployment and loss of loved ones. 

It was found that people who have recovered from Covid-19 were 41 per cent more likely to develop sleep disorders, 39 per cent more likely to develop depression, and 35 per cent more likely to experience anxiety when compared to the other control groups. There is also a 38 per cent increase on their likelihood in experiencing stress and adjustment disorders.

Silver Lining

On the bright side, however, only 4.4 to 5.6 per cent of the participants were ultimately diagnosed with a mental health disorder—but that doesn’t mean this should be taken lightly. If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health issues during these difficult times, we recommend reaching out to mental health professionals or opening up to loved ones for help. 

If you’re currently suffering from a mental health crisis, please contact Hong Kong’s Clinical Psychological Service of the Social Welfare Department at +852 2343 2255 for free professional help and advice. For emergency services, please visit the government’s Department of Health emergency hotline page.

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