COVID-19 One Year Later: Mental Health In Quarantine

Maintaining mental health in quarantine has taken a psychological toll on nearly everyone. However, this past year has helped us generate open conversations about how we feel and de-stigmatize seeking treatment.

COVID-19 has been a prevalent part of our lives for over a year now, and maintaining mental health in quarantine has taken a psychological toll on nearly everyone. But through all the loss, uncertainty, stress and trauma, we can find a silver lining. By generating a widespread conversation about our mental health, seeking treatment has become less stigmatized.At the start of the pandemic, people were panic-buying toilet paper and hand sanitizer. The healthcare world almost immediately pivoted to telehealth, making it easy for people to seek help when they felt overwhelmed. We expected this to blow over in a couple months — but before we knew it, it was Christmas and COVID-19 cases were still on the rise. By that point, there was a shift in our response to the pandemic. It was less frantic, and more about learning to control what we could.

For some, mental health in quarantine meant taking a break from busy schedules, working from home and enjoying time with their families. For others, it meant working harder, longer hours. And for many, it meant unemployment, increased substance use, anxiety, depression and financial stress during COVID. Everyone’s situation was unique, and so was how they mentally adapted to the changes in their day-to-day lives.

Children were also heavily affected by the pandemic. School, sports and other extracurriculars were cancelled. They could no longer see their friends, and a computer screen at the kitchen table became their classroom. All the while, many were too young to fully understand what was happening. It will be interesting to see the long-term health impact of COVID on children, but kids are resilient. Just like adults, they’ve also become more comfortable with shamelessly talking about their emotions.

Frontline workers arguably suffered the brunt of the trauma throughout the course of the pandemic. Dealing with loss and tragedy head-on every day has not been an easy feat for them. Although the outpouring of community support has been phenomenal, we need to continue to encourage our healthcare heroes and help them finish strong.

From kindergarteners to ICU workers, no one is immune to mental health disorders — even those of us who had no symptoms prior to the pandemic. If you or a loved one are suffering, look for these signs and seek treatment.

  • Changes in mood
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased substance use
  • Suicidal thoughts

Professional support looks different for everyone. It mainly comes in the form of talk therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy or simply reexamining your daily routine. You may have to adjust your exercise and nutrition habits, identify new coping mechanisms, create a set schedule for yourself or take medication. No matter your diagnosis, you can feel confident knowing you always have someone to talk to without judgement through virtual or in-person appointments at Valleywise Health.

Now, as the vaccine becomes more widely available, we can breathe easier knowing we may be able to go back to normal soon. Until then, prioritize your own mental health in quarantine and check in on your social circle often. Listen to their problems, and don’t be afraid to share yours. Be creative and kind in your efforts to aid the mental health of family, friends and strangers, because we’re all in this together!

If you would like to speak to a professional about your mental health in quarantine, don’t hesitate to call 1 (833) VLLYWSE and schedule a virtual or in-person appointment with Valleywise Health today!



Written By: Alicia L. Cowdrey, MD, Valleywise Health

Posted by Annelise Patterson