Published online Dec 19, 2021. doi: 10.5498/wjp.v11.i12.1346
Peer-review started: June 17, 2021
First decision: July 14, 2021
Revised: August 4, 2021
Accepted: October 20, 2021
Article in press: October 20, 2021
Published online: December 19, 2021
The global pandemic caused by coronavirus disease 2019 has led to wide spread changes in people’s day to day lives.
The changes in people’s lives and livelihoods due to the global pandemic, associated lockdowns and government guidance is anticipated to have a great impact on people’s emotional and social wellbeing.
Positive association of lockdown relaxation and face covering policies on the Mental Health of various population sub-groups is reported.
A regression discontinuity design was used to analyse data gathered on people’s health and wellbeing during different time periods and restrictions via online survey platform.
In comparison to other key workers and non-key workers during lock down, professional groups and health workers had lower generalised anxiety disorder (GAD-7) scores indicating lower anxiety levels. Similar findings were noted for the impact of events scale-revised (IES-R) scores with health workers, indicating lower levels of distress. During the compulsory face covering phase, there were improvements in mental health scores for all three professional groups assessed by GAD-7 and IES-R. Greater improvements in mental health scores were found among non-key workers than key workers. Gender was associated with different mental health outcomes during the lockdown, with females scoring higher on the GAD-7 and IES-R scales in comparison to males. However, both groups showed a significant improvement in mental health status during the period of face covering, with slightly higher improvements noted in males.
An impact on people’s wellbeing was found, with anxiety and depression levels improving when relaxations in restrictions happened.
Further investigation into pandemic preparedness for those with pre-existing conditions such as anxiety, depression or obsessive-compulsive disorders and modifying psychological interventions in this population is warranted.