As it was clearly known and agreed upon by everyone, Covid-19 is one of the most painful as well as disastrous things that we have dealt with throughout our lives. Yet what is not known nor agreed upon by everyone, were the individual experiences and struggles that people had to deal with throughout the duration of the pandemic. While there are many people who may share a similar experience, which can be seen between students and people who had to switch from office work to working at home, there were still ways in which people could not relate in regard to their own experience that they had. In an attempt to get even just a small understanding of what it was like for many others to deal with the pandemic, I decided to ask a variety of people about their experiences with the pandemic. By having a wide variety of people to interview, I was given the opportunity to better understand how the Covid-19 pandemic affected everyone differently, even though we all dealt with the same virus.
While looking into the research portion of this assignment, I decided to focus on the mental health impact that Covid-19 had on everyone involved, and granted that I personally had my own mental health experiences throughout the pandemic, it was for certain that other people had dealt with their own issues as well. Living in an area in which Covid-19 had hit hard compared to other parts of the world, my main focus was on the mental health of hospital workers, as they were dealing with Covid-19 face to face, or “mask to mask” everyday of their lives since the outbreak in March 2020. In a scientific journal that I found, titled, Healthcare providers experience of working during the Covid-19 pandemic: A qualitative study, written by Mehrdad Eftekahr Ardebili et al. which looked into the drastic affects the pandemic has had on health care workers, it stated that, “The results of our study showed high levels of stress, fear and anxiety among healthcare providers in the early phases of the pandemic. The sense of helplessness, hopelessness and becoming powerless was prevalent among them”(553). If the body language and emotions expressed from healthcare workers after leaving hospitals were not enough for people to understand that they had an extremely difficult time throughout the pandemic, then surely research into the matter would further emphasize their struggle. When looking for more evidence as to how healthcare workers had a more difficult time throughout the pandemic than anyone, I discovered that people were looking for ways to make healthcare workers feel appreciated during this hard time. As a result, I found another scientific journal, titled, Covid-19 is having a destructive impact on health-care workers’ mental well-being, written by Kris Vanhaecht et al. which discussed ways to essentially help boost the morale of these healthcare workers who were risking their lives to help their communities. “Health-care workers need to receive clear messages by organizations that they are valued and that the ultimate goal is to manage the pandemic together . They do not only rely on the support and coping mechanisms offered by their close relatives and peers”(Vanhaecht et al. 4). One easy way to ensure that healthcare workers are in fact appreciated is something they should not only be told by friends and family, but by the hospitals they work for as well, as without these workers, the hospitals would have no one to care for suffering patients. Looking at these two sources, which are just two examples out of millions of stories that can be regarding healthcare workers experiences during the pandemic, really opened my eyes to the multitude of ways that hospital workers struggled during this time, regardless if their community was hit as hard as others.
While conducting my interviews, I had learned a great deal of information as to how the pandemic affected each one of my interviewees. I had decided to interview my Father and how he had to deal with the change of working in office to entirely going online at home, my mother, in order to better understand how the pandemic changed her mental state while being a parent looking out for her children, my coworker Lauren and her experiences of being a student dealing with the switch from in person classes to full remote classes, and Mary, a member of my fire department who happens to be an emergency room nurse in a nearby hospital, and how her mental health was impacted while working on the front lines. Keeping the mental health aspect into each interview, I discovered that everyone had been affected mentally each in their own unique way. While interviewing my father, I found out that his mental health was affected in regard to a question asked about job security, in which his response was, “mentally because it was a wake up call to realize that we really got to do our jobs and do it well. Um, we didn’t know if we were going to get laid off as well”. Even for people with full time jobs, the idea that you could be laid off was still scary to many, especially during a year like the one we endured. As far as for my mother, her mental health was affected by being a parent, as she stated, “There was a lot of anxiety that I felt a lot of nervousness… worrying about my children, um, very scary time, and I’m still a little frightened by everything”. Even being a parent was scary for people such as my mother, as they had not only themselves to care for, but their children as well, which added a great deal of stress for many on top of their everyday lives. As far as Lauren’s mental health being affected, she explicitly stated that “I was very unhappy, I struggled a lot with assignments and paying attention in class” showing that even a student was affected, even when some would assume that not having to be physically present for a class would be preferred, to others, it was a burden. Finally with Mary, I was able to find out first hand from a hospital worker, the impact that Covid-19 had on them mentally, and it was extremely upsetting to hear what she had to say. “The emotional aspect was unmatched as people were dying with no family allowed to see or be with them…”. Hearing that this was one of the many struggles that people dealt with was the final push that made me realize how horrific this virus truly happened to be. After hearing everything my interviewees had to say about their own experiences when dealing with the pandemic, I am thankful that I did not have similar experiences as they did, as dealing with online schooling was enough for me, and to add anymore stress on top of that would have made it a whole lot worse.
As a result of conducting these interviews and doing more research into how Covid-19 affected the lives of many, I feel as if I have learned a lot more about society as a whole compared to before finding out more from people in my life. This experience has really shown me that there is much more to life than the basic things we do in our daily lives, especially the idea that family is extremely important. During a time like this, there really is nothing more important than family, as they will be the ones there for you in the end, regardless of the struggles you dealt with, such as ones like Covid-19 that affected us all.
Eftekhar Ardebili, Mehrdad et al. “Healthcare providers experience of working during the COVID-19 pandemic: A qualitative study.” American journal of infection control, vol. 49,5. Oct. 2020, pp 547–554. NBCI, doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2020.10.001. Accessed 15 May, 2021.
Vanhaecht, Kris et al. COVID-19 is having a destructive impact on health-care workers’ mental well-being, International Journal for Quality in Health Care, Volume 33, Issue 1, Dec. 2020, pp 1–6. Oxford Academic, doi.org/10.1093/intqhc/mzaa158. Accessed 16 May, 2021.