Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a highly infectious illness that has caused unprecedented economic and social disruptions throughout the world. In addition to heightening the existing disease burden, the global pandemic has led to massive death, social isolation, job losses, disruption of education and total or partial lack of access to services and resources due to infection limitation measures. Like other past pandemics, coronavirus 2019 has resulted in psychological distress among many individuals, with a sharp increase in mental distress among young people (Semo & Frisa, 2020). The pandemic has also caused an increase in the prevalence of psychosis. This research paper describes the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on individuals with pre-existing mental health issues.
Previous studies assessing the Covid-19 pandemic and other public health measures show a significant effect on the population’s mental health. There has been a marked increase in the COVID-19-related symptoms. According to the study undertaken by Simon et al. (2021), 8 to 13% and 6 to 11% of Australians who were surveyed exhibited mild to severe depression and anxiety symptoms, respectively (Simon et al., 2021). An indication combination from the pandemic’s initial stages showed that many individuals with previous mental health issues faced a high number of challenges. The individuals feel loneliness and isolation, disruption of routine, abuse and family disputes, inaccessibility to services, and infection control in an inpatient care setting.
Population with preexisting mental health illnesses may experience more effects of the pandemic than the general residents. Comorbidity and drug use are likely to increase the vulnerability to extreme illness development (Gillard et al., 2021). For example, a survey in Australia discovered that individuals with self-reported mood issues faced higher degrees of psychological distress and harmful alterations to lifestyle due to the pandemic than people without mental challenges (Odriozola-Gonzalez et al., 2020). As such, the need for mental health services increased due to the pandemic. The US mental staff has, in turn, experienced a higher workload as the primary challenge, along with the introduction of telehealth technologies and changed patient/provider relations (Odriozola-González et al., 2020). However, self-management is not sustainable due to a myriad of barriers such as resource constraints.
Several studies have examined the socioeconomic and health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, several research projects have focused on the impact of the crisis on the mental health status of different categories of people (Simon et al., 2021). However, research on the experiences of individuals with mental health issues during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown remains scarce. Therefore, there is a need for further research to fill this gap by examining the mental health challenges faced by COVID-19 patients and their families to create effective intervention measures.
- What are the experiences of people with mental health issues during the COVID-19 lockdown?
The research will use a participatory, coproduction method to carry out a qualitative interview investigation. The rationale for this research design is that coproduction would enable a collective decision-making process. Furthermore, the proposed qualitative investigation will benefit from the critical reflection on the descriptive research process from a diverse team consisting of scholars and practitioners. Community participation would help community-based researchers use their existing experience to shape the research procedures (Gillard et al., 2021). These methods will be appropriate due to the challenge of operating remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ethical approval for the study investigating loneliness will be obtained from the Research Ethics Committee before investigating the pandemic experiences.
Study participants will be recruited using convenient sampling and the people who will respond to the survey advertisement. An advertisement through various channels, including social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp) and emails will be made. The advert will target diverse population groups and organizations throughout the state. The people who will respond will only be eligible to participate if they are above 18 years old and must be residents of the area at the COVID-19 outbreak. The study population will consist of adults who will have to be identified using the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Screener (GAD-7) to determine whether they have mental health problems before the onset of the pandemic. Inserting lived experience into the study design will help understand individuals’ mental health experiences during the pandemic. The responses given by people with real-life involvements will promote disclosure.
The sampling process will be based on age, gender, ethnicity and sexuality to have a diversity of the participants. The sample will include participants from rural and urban areas (Malterud et al., 2016). The selection process will correspondingly be effective through community organizations, mental health systems, and social media. The recruitment will target 40-50 partakers who have been residents of the United States during the pandemic’s lockdown. The individuals need also to be conversant with the US English language. The partakers will get a participant information sheet to answer questions and have informed consent before the data collection phase
Data collection will be conducted using personal interviews that will include various procedures. The interview process will use videoconferencing or freephone options. The second study research will help to support the recording and saving of the interview in a password-protected file. Consent will be taken and recorded as an audio file before the interview. A semi-structured interview plan will be used based on COVID-19 and mental health. The questions will target to explore the pandemic experiences and the impact on an individual’s mental health, specifically those with preexisting conditions. National and health local organizations will offer resources to develop a guide to online and telephone mental health. After the interview, a follow-up telephone call or email will be significant to provide support.
Survey and Instruments
Qualitative interviews have several advantages that make it an effective method for this research. The participants will have an opportunity to elaborate on their mindset extensively so that survey research cannot. Interviews also enable the participants to share information in their own words and their perspectives. Hence, the process will allow the participants to give information on their experiences with COVID-19 in their outlook. Interviews give detailed information and are therefore suitable for research in social sciences. In this study, the aim describes how the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown affects people with mental health issues and hence, using qualitative interviews will be most appropriate.
The analysis will involve the integration of practical experience into the interpretive procedure. Principles of thematic analysis will be used in undertaking a preliminary analysis of the interview conducted (Braun & Clarke, 2019). The analysis will aim to chart five thematic ideas by listening back to the recordings per interview. The charting process will translate onto a coding matrix, netting participants’ experience of mental health and COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. The results will then be created through an iterative analytical writing process around the interviewees’ quotes and statements.
Employing a co-produced, qualitative study will help identify challenges reported by people with preexisting mental health defects during the COVID-19 pandemic in the US concerning adapting to the pandemic’s daily functioning and psychological effects social disruptions and insufficient access to mental health care. This research will help understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide reactions to the pandemic on individuals’ mental health. The findings need to show worsening mental health problems for many people during the lockdown. However, there is a need for further research to establish how culture impacts experiences of coronavirus-related control measures across different regions and examine the long-term effects of the pandemic on the mental health and welling of patients from a capability model viewpoint.
Braun, V., & Clarke, V. (2019). Reflecting on reflexive thematic analysis. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 11(4), 589-597. Web.
Gillard, S., Dare, C., Hardy, J., Nyikavaranda, P., Olive, R. R., Shah, P., & Lloyd-Evans, B. (2021). Experiences of living with mental health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK: A coproduced, participatory qualitative interview study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, 1-11. Web.
Malterud, K., Siersma, V. D., & Guassora, A. D. (2016). Sample size in qualitative interview studies: guided by information power. Qualitative Health Research, 26(13), 1753-1760. Web.
Odriozola-González, P., Planchuelo-Gómez, Á., Irurtia, M. J., & de Luis-García, R. (2020). Psychological effects of the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown among students and workers of a Spanish university. Psychiatry Research, 290. Web.
Semo, B. W., & Frissa, S. M. (2020). The mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: Implications for sub-Saharan Africa. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 13. Web.
Simon, J., Helter, T. M., White, R. G., van der Boor, C., & Łaszewska, A. (2021). Impacts of the Covid-19 lockdown and relevant vulnerabilities on capability well-being, mental health and social support: An Austrian survey study. BMC Public Health, 21(1), 1-12. Web.