To consider how covid-19 will affect the nations mental health we need to go back to basics. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs puts physiological needs as the cornerstone of human need. Food, water, clothing, sleep and shelter being the most basic of human needs. With the covid-19 leaving many unemployed or furloughed financial stress has become a reality for much of the population. Worry about how to pay bills and feed your family leaves people without the grounding on which all needs can be fulfilled. Safety needs of personal security, employment and health have also all been significantly impacted.
With this silent killer lurking, every person now has concern regarding their personal safety and health, the significant threat of infection and constant updates from news reports and social media make it almost impossible to prevent daily if not hourly reminders of the situation. This is stressful to all. Imagine if life was already stressful, already hanging in the balance? Even for those that can tolerate the uncertainty of the two basic needs as we move up the hierarchy, we see that all levels are affected. Love and belonging- intimacy and sense of connection - have all been overhauled by lockdown with some being totally isolated from loved ones and having no human contact from day to day. It is clearly apparent that this pandemic cannot fail to impact the mental health of everyone on the planet. The question is how we as GPs can help to deal with this? How can we identify the people who will be able to cope and those who will find this the final straw?