Researchers fear pandemic will inflict war-like damage to mental health in Australia | Voice of America



SYDNEY – Experts say coronavirus blockades all over the world can trigger stress, irritability, fear and fatigue. There may be a disconnection from extended family and friends, causing loneliness. Uncertainty is another corrosive factor.

In Australia, mental health charities have estimated that around a third of Melbourne residents suffered from some kind of depression during the country’s longest and strictest lockdown last year. Research has also found that blockages make some Australian children too eager to go to school.

Life in Australia was starting to return to normal. But recently, the highly contagious delta variant has been detected in several states and territories threatening progress. Closures have been imposed in Sydney, Perth, Brisbane and Darwin – subjecting millions of Australians to stay-at-home orders.

Professor Susan Rossell, cognitive neuropsychologist at the Swinburne Center for Mental Health, compares the mental health consequences of the coronavirus crisis to conflict.

“There are very few pandemics that have lasted this long. So the comparison to wars, especially wars that last a very long time, is good, ”Rossell said. “During times of conflict, then, during the pandemic, it increased stress and anxiety, loneliness, confusion, lower quality. of life – all the things we are seeing right now.

Mental health experts have said anxiety will ‘haunt’ many Australians in the future as uncertainty surrounds a slow rollout of vaccination and the likelihood of international borders remaining closed for another year, separating families parents abroad.

Lockdowns in Perth, Brisbane and Darwin have been lifted in recent days, but Sydney, Australia’s most populous city, remains subject to a stay-at-home order until at least Saturday. Authorities are rushing to contain a COVID-19 outbreak linked to a limousine driver allegedly infected with the delta variant after transporting an international flight crew to Sydney Airport.

Residents in lockdown can leave their homes to work, buy groceries, exercise, take care of a loved one or get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Australia has recorded just under 31,000 COVID-19 infections since the start of the pandemic. 910 people died.

Only about 7% of the population of 25 million are fully immunized.



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