How COVID-19 impacted the mental health of Nevadans

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many populants within the United States experienced substantial impacts on mental health, becoming a leading public health concern.

As young children and adolescents returned to their educational environments by the Summer of 2021, the total count of confirmed cases of COVID-19 began to steadily decline, prompting mass re-openings and lesser restrictions. But by the time vaccines rolled out and confirmed cases tanked, the psychological impact of COVID-19 still lingered.

In a plethora of peer-reviewed studies released since the start of the pandemic, it is evident that Americans of varying socio-demographic backgrounds were affected to some extent. This included impacts to mental health, as well as occupational, educational, and interpersonal functioning.

In the state of Nevada, more than 400,000 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, with a death rate of over 6,000, as of the time of this story’s publication. The exceedingly high case count and the restrictions implemented may have contributed to the psychological impacts experienced among children, adolescents, and adults residing in the Silver State.

Among the countless studies released in medical journals throughout the pandemic, the most prevalent manifestations of psychopathology involved stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and social isolation, experienced among both children and adults nationwide. The psychological implications were similar across nearly all states, including Nevada.

According to one expert, social isolation was the biggest factor impacting the mental health of residents in Reno, Nevada, during the pandemic.

Dr. Stephen Mayville, a clinical psychologist, runs his private practice in Reno, Nevada, having provided services for both children and adults for over 16 years. During the pandemic, Dr. Mayville noticed a surge in incidences of social isolation and suicidal ideation in children and adolescents with established mental illness, particularly as restriction orders were prompted, temporarily shutting down in-person learning.

“Social isolation appeared to be the biggest factor impacting mental health during the COVID 19 pandemic,” Dr. Mayville told Mental Daily.

“I saw a remarkable surge in suicidal ideation among children and adolescents at that time,” he added.

Dr. Mayville also believes COVID-19 impacted adults with established mental illness through exacerbating pre-existing conditions and the additional stress of work closures. “For many (if not most) this appeared to be a bigger concern than the virus itself,” he said.

As the psychological impacts of COVID-19 continue in Nevada, increasing awareness and support for those with mental health needs is warranted.

“Increased awareness is especially important to support the needs of children and adults with established mental illness,” said Dr. Mayville. “Having a heightened awareness of one’s stress level can tune in individuals to the need to seek help prior to a significant exacerbation of an established mental illness.”

Image courtesy of Getty Images
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