It has been widely reported that the COVID-19 pandemic, and the restrictions introduced to contain the spread of COVID-19, have had a significant negative impact on the public‚’s mental health. The fear of catching coronavirus, and the fear of passing on the deadly virus to vulnerable loved ones has increased levels of anxiety. Furthermore, the economic impact of lockdown restrictions has impacted mental health as job losses and uncertainty surrounding people‚’s businesses have exacerbated existing mental health problems. More fundamentally, lockdown restrictions have made it more difficult for people to access clinical help for their mental health as well as restricting access to social networks of support.
Given the effects of lockdown measures mentioned above, the policy debate has centred on the idea that there is a trade-off between slowing the spread of the virus and reducing the strain on public mental health: easing lockdown restrictions risks accelerating the spread of the virus but lessens the strain on people‚’s mental health. This rhetoric has overlooked the possibility that ‚’lockdown-compliant‚’ policies can be implemented which counteract the virus‚’ impact on mental health. Therefore, finding effective policies that combat the mental health crisis, without obstructing lockdown restrictions, is a key challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. If such policies can be implemented, both the physical and mental health threats posed by COVID-19 can be addressed.