COVID-19 and Mental Health: Exacerbation for Depression and Anxiety


Covid 19 pandemic has become a serious challenge for the modern world. The extremely high contagiousness of the virus, difficulties associated with its treatment, and development of numerous adverse effects resulted in numerous deaths globally. For this reason, the international community has to respond to a new threat and introduce severe measures to address the issue and ensure communities are protected. The severe restrictive measures such as social isolation, distancing, and minimizing contacts helped to reduce the speed of the virus’ spread and improve the situation. However, the high risk of being infected and suffer from Covid 19’s complications and the necessity to observe strict regulations influenced the mental health of the population. As a result, the emergence of new problems and the exacerbation of existing issues were observed.

The international agencies’ reports prove the significant scope of the problem mentioned above. Thus, WHO (2022) reports that depression and anxiety rates increased by 25%. Moreover, individuals with other mental health problems complained about the deterioration of their states and the higher need for medication and assistance. The scope of the challenge is also evidenced by the fact that 90% of countries included mental health and psychological support as the part of their Covid 19 response plan (WHO, 2022). The fast worsening of psychological well-being is explained by several factors. First of all, the unprecedented stress associated with social isolation causes significant pressure on individuals, especially with anxiety and depression (WHO, 2022). Moreover, the constraints on working meeting with others serve as another stressor (WHO, 2022). Finally, loneliness, fear of death, and infection impact the emergence of negative thinking patterns (Verma and Mishra, 2020). The given factors prove the critical deterioration of the populations’ mental health during the pandemic.

Furthermore, the pandemic affects the most vulnerable groups critical for the stable functioning of society. Thus, recent research shows that women and young people face a higher risk of acquiring mental health issues because of the pandemic (Verma and Mishra, 2020). These might include the critical risk of suicidal or self-harming behaviors (Verma and Mishra, 2020). Unfortunately, WHO (2022) also reports some gaps in care regarding mental health issues and the pandemic. It means that population groups with specific mental health issues might be disregarded or have limited access to care because of the poor understanding of the effects Covid 19 has on communities.

Regarding the relevance of the outlined issues, the project focuses on Covid 19’s impact on mental health in general and exacerbation of already existing concerns for individuals with depression. It is vital to analyze the causes for the emergence of these problems, factors serving as triggers for the deterioration of patients’ states, and ways to assist them in struggling against the pandemic influence. Conducting the research, it is possible to work with populations suffering from the outlined problem to collect relevant and credible information and conclude about the current state of the problem and ways to resolve it. For this reason, the proposed investigation is relevant and touches upon an important issue.

Literature Review

The existing literature devoted to investigating the negative aftermath of Covid 19 acknowledges that people’s mental health is significantly influenced by the pandemic. However, there is also a gap in knowledge linked to the issue as the effects of Covid 19 on mental health remain underresearched and are not known in detail (Javed et al., 2020). For this reason, much effort is put into investigating how the pandemic impacts various social groups and their mental health. The sophistication of the problem is linked to the fact that it is not only a medical phenomenon; however, restrictions and the fear of disease and death influence communities and individuals leading to disruption, anxiety, and depression (Javed et al., 2020). In this regard, investigating the given phenomenon requires a systemic approach addressing all possible complications and factors triggering them.

Thus, most researchers admit the negative influence of Covid 19 on the mental state in general. For instance, Sukut and Ayhan Balik (2021) offer data proving the exacerbation of existing mental issues in patients who are already treated. People with severe mental diseases are more vulnerable to various infectious diseases because of specific risk factors (Sukut and Ayhan Balik, 2021). For this reason, they have a stronger fear of death and complications, resulting in the deterioration of their states. Statistics show that about 70% of people with mental diseases asked for additional help during the pandemic (Overbeck et al., 2021). Additionally, care providers reported the negative shifts in patients’ states and the need for more effective interventions (Bohn et al., 2021). It proves the negative influence of Covid 19 on mental health.

However, the pandemic also resulted in the emergence of health issues in people previously considered healthy. Thus, Bareeqa et al. (2021) view stress, depression, and anxiety as the most prevalent consequences of the Covid 19 pandemic. Among all respondents participating in the study, 48.1% admitted higher levels of stress, 26.9% admitted anxiety symptoms, and 21.8% started to suffer from anxiety (Bareeqa et al., 2021). Both male and female respondents stated that they noticed negative changes in their thinking and behaviors, indicating the worsening of their mental health (Bareeqa et al., 2021). It means that the psychological well-being of nations decreases, establishing the ground for the appearance of severer issues and the impossibility to remain involved in social processes.

The existing body of literature also delves into how Covid 19 influences the mental health of individuals and vulnerable groups. Thus, Kurniawidjaja et al. (2022) admit that the youth and the elderly are extremely vulnerable to negative effects. For instance, 40% of surveyed individuals aged 60 and older reported symptoms of depression, while 13.6% had it (Kurniawidjaja et al., 2022). It evolved as the high fear of death because of statistics showing that this cohort dies more often because of complications compared to others (Xing et al., 2021). As for the youth, the isolation, impossibility to lead a usual lifestyle, and vague perspectives for the future also resulted in the development of anxiety (Kurniawidjaja et al., 2022). In such a way, the literature shows that changes in mental states are triggered by social and medical factors.

In such a way, deterioration in individuals’ mental health and the development of anxiety is caused by several stressors. First of all, depression evolves as a result of the lack of stability, confidence in the future, and radical changes in global intercourse (Ustun, 2021). Severe restrictions and an economic crisis result in the development of fear and the impossibility to plan their future life, which is one of the causes of the emergence of mental issues (Mahmud, Talukder and Rahman, 2021). Moreover, the feeling of helplessness, vulnerability, and absence of understanding of how the problem can be resolved contribute to establishing the negative atmosphere and negative thinking patterns (de Boer et al., 2021). At the same time, the severity of complications and the high risk of death also serve as stressors impacting individuals (Xiong et al., 2020). Under these conditions, the development of depression is linked to several stressors promoted by the pandemic.

Altogether, the existing body of literature shows that Covid 19 pandemic negatively impacts the mental health of individuals. It deteriorates the states of patients who already have a certain issue because of their high vulnerability to the virus. Moreover, previously healthy groups report negative changes in their psychological well-being and the emergence of the first signs of anxiety and depression. However, the field remains underresearched as not all details and mechanisms of how Covid 19 influences individuals and their mental health is investigated. For this reason, there is a need for additional research to fill in the gap in knowledge. New research focusing on how the pandemic triggers the deterioration of psychological well-being is needed to select the most effective measures to resolve the problem.


The choice of the research methods is linked to the following objectives of the study:

  • to analyze the existing threats to individuals’ mental health linked to the pandemic
  • to analyze existing research literature to establish the theoretical framework
  • to investigate the correlation between Covid 19 and the development of depression
  • to discuss possible interventions to resolve the problem
  • to create the basis for new projects and discussion

The outlined issue, its scope, and formulated research questions stipulate the choice of the research paradigm. For this reason, the mixed, qualitative-quantitative approach can be used to collect the needed data and provide a credible conclusion about the investigated phenomenon. First of all, the literature review will be conducted to create the theoretical framework for the discussion. By reviewing the scholarly and relevant sources, it is possible to acquire an enhanced vision of the current state of the problem (Creswell and Creswell, 2017). Moreover, it will help to discover the gaps in knowledge linked to the current state of mental health and how the pandemic influences it.

Qualitative tools are effective in collecting personal data of participants and evaluating their experiences and attitudes towards a specific issue (Creswell and Poth, 2017). Moreover, it can be used to improve understanding of a particular issue by investigating the population’s responses and reactions. For this reason, the qualitative approach supported by interviews can be selected as one of the methods to analyze how Covid 19 influences individuals and their mental health. The qualitative data will create the basis for the discussion and help to attain the outlined objectives.

At the same time, quantitative tools can be used to collect credible numerical data related to the problem. The major advantage of the given approach is the increased objectivity and accuracy of findings (Creswell and Creswell, 2017). Working with statistical information, it is possible to provide an objective conclusion regarding the acquired data. For this reason, the quantitative paradigm supported by the survey will be used to evaluate the state of individuals with mental issues and conclude whether the severity of their symptoms increased or they need additional intervention and support (Creswell and Creswell, 2017). It will help to improve the understanding of how the pandemic influences people with problematic psychological well-being and the scope of the challenge they face. Furthermore, the quantitative methods are less dependent on subjective participants’ judgments, meaning that they can help to support qualitative data with credible information acquired via surveys.

The nature of the research requires the involvement of participants to collect data by using the tools outlined above. For this reason, there is a need for a structure and practical approach to selecting individuals. Thus, a non-probability, purposive sampling will be employed to select participants to investigate the influence of the pandemic on people with mental issues, such as depression and anxiety (Creswell and Creswell, 2017). Collecting data about their current states, their attitudes, and experiences linked to surviving the pandemic, it is possible to create the basis for the discussion and conclude about the real effects of Covid 19 on people globally. Furthermore, the given sampling method ensures that only individuals with relevant knowledge and experiences will be involved in the research, and no unnecessary data will be acquired (Creswell and Creswell, 2017). All participants should be of full age and provide their informed consent to take part in the investigation. There are no limits or demands regarding gender, social class, race, or culture, as these factors are irrelevant to the research. Under these conditions, following this approach to sampling, it is possible to select individuals for the research. It is expected that 50 participants will be enough to conclude about the existence of particular trends and determine how the pandemic influences mental health.

Altogether, the outlined methodology and sampling method are linked to the objectives of the study. They can guarantee the collection of credible data from individuals who have the needed experiences and their analysis. The mixed qualitative-quantitative approach will also ensure that the problem is investigated from different perspectives and that the results of the investigation can be trusted, which is vital for any research study. For this reason, the outlined research method is selected.

Ethical Considerations

The proposed study will be conducted regarding the major ethical principles of research projects involving human beings. It will help to avoid the emergence of conflicts and align the trustful and meaningful cooperation between a researcher and participants. The first central principle is voluntary participation, meaning that people cannot be forced to take part in the research (Hammersley and Traianou, 2012). It is the central ethical consideration of the proposed study as all participants should be ready to share their personal data voluntarily; otherwise, the study will not be relevant and credible, and a rude violation of the research procedure will be observed.

The second principle used to conduct the study is informing participants about all details of the research and its planned outcomes. It means that informed consent is required to ensure individuals correctly realize the scope of the investigation, its aims, methods that will be used, and data they will share with a researcher (Hammersley and Traianou, 2012). It will guarantee that there will be no misunderstandings during the project regarding the planned procedures and reduce the dropout rates as all participants will have the correct understanding of procedures and be ready to undertake them. For this reason, informed consent is fundamental for the planned research.

Finally, anonymity and confidentiality should be viewed as essential ethical concerns. During the research project, individuals can share their sensitive data, and it is critical to ensure it will not be used against them. Under these conditions, a researcher becomes responsible for protecting all information individuals share with him/her and guaranteeing their participation will remain confidential (Hammersley and Traianou, 2012). Furthermore, all participants will be able to leave at any stage of the project and insist on excluding their personal data from the analysis. This principle can help to avoid ethical issues and encourage participants to share credible data because of its protection.

In such a way, the project will rest on the three major principles such as voluntary participation, informed consent, and anonymity of data provided by clients. It will ensure the observation of the code of ethics of research projects involving human beings and, at the same time, reduce the risk of conflicts because of inappropriate behavior or attitudes. Considering the outlined ethical concerns, it is also possible to attain the increased credibility of findings and their higher practical utility.


Altogether, the project delves into the topical and relevant issue. The problem of Covid 19 and its influence on the population is critical for the modern world. The contagious nature of the virus and severe consequences resulted in numerous concerns, such as the necessity to observe strict regulations and remain in safety. For this reason, people experienced significant alterations in their traditional lifestyles, which also stipulated the growth of stress and the emergence of mental health issues. Under these conditions, it becomes critical to investigate the problem and ensure all factors associated with the pandemic and its influence on the psychological well-being of individuals are considered. It justifies the choice of the research topic and its social importance.

It is also expected that the study will contribute to several positive outcomes. First of all, an enhanced understanding of individuals’ mental health during the pandemic will be acquired. The stressful times lead to critical alterations in people’s psychological well-being. For this reason, it is vital to monitor these alterations to be ready to address them. The second expected outcome is the provision of credible evidence demonstrating the correlation between Covid 19 and critical deterioration of individuals’ mental health, including already existing issues and the development of new ones. Finally, the study can help to discuss possible interventions for addressing the problem and assisting people during the challenging period to reduce their anxiety and stress levels.

The planned investigation also has a high practical value linked to the expected outcomes. As stated previously, it is expected that the correlation between the pandemic and the mental health of individuals will be outlined. Precisely, the relationship between Covid 19 and depression and anxiety will be researched. Today, it is a relevant topic as statistics show that every year depression rates grow, while the recent challenges will become the problem even more complicated. Under these conditions, the study will offer credible and relevant data about anxiety and depression associated with the pandemic, how these diseases evolve and what measures can be selected to address them. It becomes a step toward a better understanding of the population’s mental health and its enhanced management.

At the same time, the project will create the basis for the future investigation of the given problem. Psychological well-being is a complex phenomenon consisting of numerous aspects. Individuals might report the deterioration of their states because of various impacts, including the aftermath of the pandemic. For this reason, future research is needed to establish a comprehensive approach to how to help individuals to overcome the crisis and improve the health of the nation. Moreover, data collected from the participants can be used by investigators to discuss people’s experiences during the pandemic and outline the essential aspects that should be given special attention.

Reference List

Bareeqa, S. B. et al. (2021) ‘Prevalence of depression, anxiety and stress in China during COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic review with meta-analysis’, The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 56(4), pp. 210–227.

Bohn, L. et al. (2021) ‘Predictors of lower depression levels in older adults during COVID-19 lockdown’, Journal of Applied Gerontology, 40(11), pp. 1407–1416.

Creswell, J.W. and Creswell, J.D. (2017) Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Creswell, J. and Poth, C. (2017) Qualitative inquiry and research design: choosing among five approaches. 4th edn., Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

de Boer, G. M. et al. (2021) ‘Asthma patients experience increased symptoms of anxiety, depression and fear during the COVID-19 pandemic’, Chronic Respiratory Disease, 18.

Hammersley, M. and Traianou, A. (2012) Ethics in qualitative research: controversies and contexts. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Javed, B et al. (2020) ‘The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic’s impact on mental health’, The International journal of health planning and management, 35(5), pp. 993–996.

Kurniawidjaja, M. et al. (2022) ‘Identification of depression among elderly during COVID-19’, Journal of Primary Care & Community Health.

Mahmud, M. S., Talukder, M. U. and Rahman, S. M. (2021) ‘Does ‘Fear of COVID-19’ trigger future career anxiety? An empirical investigation considering depression from COVID-19 as a mediator’, International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 67(1), pp. 35–45.

Overbeck, G. et al. (2021) ‘Depression and anxiety symptoms in pregnant women in Denmark during COVID-19’, Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, 49(7), pp. 721–729.

Sukut, O. and Ayhan Balik, C. H. (2021) ‘The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on people with severe mental illness’, Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 57(2), pp. 953–956.

Verma, S. and Mishra, A. (2020) ‘Depression, anxiety, and stress and socio-demographic correlates among general Indian public during COVID-19’, International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 66(8), pp. 756–762.

Ustun, G. (2021) ‘Determining depression and related factors in a society affected by COVID-19 pandemic’, International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 67(1), pp. 54–63.

World Health Organization (WHO) (2022) COVID-19 pandemic triggers 25% increase in prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide. Web.

Xing, L. et al. (2021) ‘Anxiety and depression in frontline health care workers during the outbreak of Covid-19’, International Journal of Social Psychiatry, 67(6), pp. 656–663.

Xiong, J. et al. (2020) ‘Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health in the general population: a systematic review’. Journal of Affective Disorders, 277, pp. 55–64.


Appendix A: Questionnaire for Interview

  1. What is your current mental health status?
  2. Have you noticed changes in your psychological well being because of the pandemic?
  3. What psychological symptoms (e.g., anxiety, depression, sleep problems, stress) have you acquired?
  4. Do you use any medications to address these symptoms?
  5. Have you attended a psychologist because of the pandemic related stress?
  6. How would you describe your current psychological state?
  7. Can you resolve your current problems by yourself, or you might need assistance?
  8. What is the most challenging psychological issue linked to the pandemic?
  9. Do you expect the situation regarding population mental health to improve?
  10. What additional thoughts or ideas do you want to share?

Appendix B: Survey

  1. Rate the severity of stress associated with the Covid 19 pandemic (from 1 mild to 5 most severe)
  2. Rate the severity of your mental health symptoms before the pandemic (from 1 mildest to 5 most severe):
  3. Rate the severity of your mental health symptoms during the pandemic (from 1 mildest to 5 most severe):
  4. Rate the frequency of a mental disease manifestation before the pandemic (from 1 mildest to 5 most severe):
  5. Rate the frequency of a mental disease manifestation during the pandemic (from 1 mildest to 5 most severe):
  6. Evaluate your psychological well-being before the pandemic (from 1 very good to 5 unsatisfactory):
  7. Evaluate your psychological well-being during the pandemic (from 1 very good to 5 unsatisfactory):
  8. State the number of new symptoms acquired during the pandemic:
  9. What type of treatment were you prescribed before the pandemic?
  10. What type of treatment were you prescribed during the pandemic?

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