The effect of the lockdown on mental health. Picture: Cottonbro/ Pexels
The effect of the lockdown on mental health. Picture: Cottonbro/ Pexels

The lockdown had positive and negative effects on mental health, say experts

By Vuyolwethu Fundam Time of article published May 19, 2021

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Last year, our mental health was adversely affected by the initial hard lockdown, causing the number of people suffering from depression and anxiety to surge.

However, it appears that, while the lockdown may have harmed certain people's mental health, it had the opposite effect on others.

A recent Manchester University study, on the number of people seeking mental health services for the first time, revealed that certain people's mental health improved after the first lockdown, Daily Mail Online reported.

It's been dubbed “lockdown relief” because it's allowed people a break from their daily routines.

According to the study, as compared to similar periods over the previous ten years, depression rates dropped by 43% and anxiety rates dropped by 48%.

Jasmin Kooverjee, a principal clinical psychologist at Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital, told IOL Lifestyle that she also noticed a mixed set of behaviour with patients during the lockdown.

She said: "Children had undivided time from parents, which led to stronger bonds, and those with social anxiety also improved, as it took away the stress of engaging with people.

"Children that struggled socially at school, with bullying, also improved as they didn't have to be in those contexts again and these children seemed to do well with online schooling."

Kooverjee also cautioned that parents should be wary of the secondary effects of social isolation, which will inevitably emerge at some point.

The absence of social contact, known as social isolation, can have negative health consequences for an individual, including depression and anxiety, among other things.

Kooverjee acknowledged that, while many people improved, certain groups worsened in certain ways.

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