Studies Show Resilience in Mental Health, Despite Increase in Symptoms During Pandemic

Investigators reviewed 65 analyses published in the Journal of Affective Disorders showing that by mid-2020 signs were comparable to pre-COVID-19 levels.

Great resilience was seen in mental health during 2020, despite an increase in symptoms early in the COVID-19 pandemic, results of a study from the University of Liverpool show.

“Our research has drawn conclusions which go against the idea that there has been a mental health crisis during the pandemic in the general population or those with existing mental health conditions. The results in fact show how remarkably resilient people's mental health has tended to be after the very early initial shock of the pandemic,” Eric Robinson, PhD, of the University of Liverpool, said in a statement.

Investigators reviewed 65 studies published in the Journal of Affective Disorders showing that by mid-2020, mental health symptoms were comparable to pre-pandemic levels, though there was a large rise in depressive symptoms, and individuals with pre-existing conditions were most affected.

The largest increase seen in mental health symptoms occurred between March 2020 and April 2020, but they decreased from May 2020 to July 2020.

The pattern of results could represent an acute and normal response to a distressing and unforeseen traumatic event, which was then followed by a period of psychological adaption and resilience.

There was no evidence of a worsening of mental health symptoms among samples of participants with pre-existing mental health conditions.

“Current data on recorded suicides align with this, as there has been tended to be stable rates or decreases reported across a number of countries. However, there is a need for continued mental health provision, monitoring of mental health particularly during periods of increased COVID-19 infection and death,” Robinson said.

“Long-term investment in mental health services will also be valuable,” he said.

Reference

Review indicates mental health ‘resilience’ rather than crisis during COVID-19 pandemic. EurekAlert. News release. October 28, 2021. Accessed October 29, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/933120