Navigating Mental Health Amidst COVID-19: Understanding Symptoms, Sociodemographic Patterns, and Practice Implications

Main Article Content

Stephanie F. Dailey


This article explores the nuanced relationship between COVID-related stressors and mental health outcomes, with a particular focus on sociodemographic patterns and implications for practice. It illuminates the psychological impacts of the pandemic, explores sociodemographic disparities outcomes among historically marginalized communities, and offers recommendations for practitioners and policymakers to address mental health challenges. It reviews current research highlighting the direct correlation between pandemic-related stressors and heightened levels of depression, anxiety, and economic instability across diverse demographic groups, while also exploring the most widely reported barriers these communities face in accessing mental health services. Through a comprehensive review of the literature, key strategies for addressing mental health disparities emphasize the importance of promoting social connectedness and dispositional mindfulness as protective factors. By integrating culturally responsive interventions, promoting mental health literacy, building resilience and coping skills, strengthening support systems, and advocating for policy changes, this article contributes to efforts aimed at reducing mental health inequities and promoting equitable access to care for all individuals affected by the pandemic.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, mental health, sociodemographic disparities, resilience, treatment paradigms

Article Details

How to Cite
DAILEY, Stephanie F.. Navigating Mental Health Amidst COVID-19: Understanding Symptoms, Sociodemographic Patterns, and Practice Implications. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 5, may 2024. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 19 june 2024. doi:


1. Dailey SF, Parker MM, Campbell A. Social connectedness, mindfulness, and coping as protective factors during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Journal of Counseling & Development. 2023;101(1):114-26. doi:10.1002/jcad.12450

2. Mukhtar S. Psychological health during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic outbreak. International Journal of Social Psychiatry. 2020;66(5):512-516. doi:10.1177/0020764020925835

3. Chatterjee SS, Mukherjee A. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on pre-existing mental health problems. Asian journal of psychiatry. 2020;51:102071. doi:10.1016/j.ajp.2020.102071

4. Litam, SDA, Hipolito‐Delgado CP (2021). When being “essential” illuminates disparities: Counseling clients affected by COVID‐19. Journal of Counseling & Development. 2021;99(1), 3-10. doi:10.1002/jcad.12349

5. Rentsch CT, Kidwai-Khan F, Tate JP, Park LS, King JT, Skanderson M, et al. (2020) Patterns of COVID-19 testing and mortality by race and ethnicity among United States veterans: A nationwide cohort study. PLoS Med. 2020; 7(9), e1003379. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1003379

6. Anyane‐Yeboa A, Sato T, Sakuraba A. Racial Disparities in COVID‐19 Deaths Reveal Harsh Truths About Structural Inequality in America. Journal of Internal Medicine. 2020;288(4):479-480. doi:10.1111/joim.13117

7. Cao W, Fang Z, Hou G, et al. The psychological impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on college students in China. Psychiatry Research. 2020;287:112934. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2020.112934

8. Dailey SF, Parker M, Emmanuel AD, Campbell A. Mental Health and COVID-19: symptom prevalence, sociodemographic associations, and implications for practice. Journal of Mental Health Counseling. 2022;44(4):343-361. doi:10.17744/mehc.44.4.05

9. Liu CH, Zhang E, Wong GTF, Hyun S, Hahm HC. Factors associated with depression, anxiety, and PTSD symptomatology during the COVID-19 pandemic: Clinical implications for U.S. young adult mental health. Psychiatry Research. 2020;290:113172. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2020.113172

10. Parker M, Dailey SF, Emmanuel AD, Campbell A. Psychological impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) social distancing mandates on trauma survivors. Global Health Journal. 2022;6(3):174-179. doi:10.1016/j.glohj.2022.07.008

11. Xiong J, Lipsitz O, Nasri F, et al. Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health in the general population: A systematic review. Journal of Affective Disorders. 2020;277:55-64. doi:10.1016/j.jad.2020.08.001

12. Gemelas J, Davison J, Keltner C, Ing S. Inequities in employment by race, ethnicity, and sector during COVID-19. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. 2021;9(1):350-355. doi:10.1007/s40615-021-00963-3

13. Ho CS, Chee CY, Ho RC. Mental health strategies to combat the psychological impact of COVID-19 beyond paranoia and panic. Ann Acad Med Singapore. 2020;49(1):1-3.

14. Kowal M, Coll-Martín T, İkizer G, et al. Who is the Most Stressed During the COVID‐19 Pandemic? Data From 26 Countries and Areas. Applied Psychology Health and Well-being. 2020;12(4):946-966. doi:10.1111/aphw.12234

15. Meng H, Xu Y, Dai J, Zhang Y, Liu B, Yang H. Analyze the psychological impact of COVID-19 among the elderly population in China and make corresponding suggestions. Psychiatry Research. 2020;289:112983. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2020.112983

16. Fingerman KL, Ng YT, Zhang S, et al. Living alone during COVID-19: Social contact and emotional well-being among older adults. the Journals of Gerontology Series B, Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences. 2020;76(3):e116-e121. doi:10.1093/geronb/gbaa200

17. Moore KA, Lucas J. COVID‐19 distress and worries: The role of attitudes, social support, and positive coping during social isolation. Psychology and Psychotherapy. 2020;94(2):365-370. doi:10.1111/papt.12308

18. Alonzi S, La Torre A, Silverstein MW. The psychological impact of preexisting mental and physical health conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychological Trauma. 2020;12(S1):S236-S238. doi:10.1037/tra0000840

19. Umbetkulova S, Kanderzhanova A, Foster F, Stolyarova V, Cobb-Zygadlo D. Mental health changes in healthcare workers DURING COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic REVIEW of longitudinal studies. Evaluation & the Health Professions. 2023;47(1):11-20. doi:10.1177/01632787231165076

20. Olagoke A, Olagoke O, Hughes AM. Exposure to coronavirus news on mainstream media: The role of risk perceptions and depression. British Journal of Health Psychology. 2020;25(4):865-874. doi:10.1111/bjhp.12427

21. Ramaiya A, Chandra-Mouli V, Both R, et al. Assessing the health, social, educational and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adolescents in low- and middle-income countries: a rapid review of the literature. Sexual and Reproductive Health Matters. 2023;31(1). doi:10.1080/26410397.2023.2187170

22. Panchal U, De Pablo GS, Franco M, et al. The impact of COVID-19 lockdown on child and adolescent mental health: systematic review. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. 2021;32(7):1151-1177. doi:10.1007/s00787-021-01856-w

23. Seckman C. The impact of COVID‐19 on the psychosocial well‐being of older adults: A literature review. Journal of Nursing Scholarship. 2022;55(1):97-111. doi:10.1111/jnu.12824

24. Wang C, Pan R, Wan X, et al. Immediate Psychological Responses and Associated Factors during the Initial Stage of the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Epidemic among the General Population in China. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health/International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020;17(5):1729. doi:10.3390/ijerph17051729

25. Beaunoyer E, Dupéré S, Guitton MJ. COVID-19 and digital inequalities: Reciprocal impacts and mitigation strategies. Computers in Human Behavior. 2020;111:106424. doi:10.1016/j.chb.2020.106424

26. Boden‐Albala B, Ding X, Ryan N, et al. Anti-Asian racism related stigma, racial discrimination, and protective factors against stigma: a repeated cross-sectional survey among university students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Frontiers in Public Health. 2023;11. doi:10.3389/fpubh.2023.958932

27. Dotson MP, Castro EM, Magid NT, Hoyt LT, Suleiman AB, Cohen AK. Emotional distancing: Change and strain in US young adult college students’ relationships during COVID-19. Emerging Adulthood. 2022;10(2), 546-557. doi:10.1177/21676968211065

28. Son C, Hegde S, Smith A, Wang X, Sasangohar F. Effects of COVID-19 on college students’ mental health in the United States: Interview Survey study. JMIR Journal of Medical Internet Research/Journal of Medical Internet Research. 2020;22(9):e21279. doi:10.2196/21279

29. Sun Y, Wu Y, Fan S, et al. Comparison of mental health symptoms before and during the covid-19 pandemic: evidence from a systematic review and meta-analysis of 134 cohorts. BMJ. Published online March 8, 2023:e074224. doi:10.1136/bmj-2022-074224

30. Coyle EF, Fulcher M, Baker KS, Fredrickson CN. Families in quarantine: COVID‐19 pandemic effects on the work and home lives of women and their daughters. Journal of Social Issues. 2023;79(3):971-996. doi:10.1111/josi.12589

31. McNicholas C, Poydock M. Who are essential workers? A comprehensive look at their wages, demographics, and unionization rates. Economic Policy Institute. Published May 19, 2020. Accessed February 12, 2022.

32. Versey HS, Russell CN. The impact of COVID‐19 and housing insecurity on lower‐income Black women. Journal of Social Issues. 2022;79(2):773-793. doi:10.1111/josi.12555

33. Fulcher M, Schroeder KM, Dinella LM. How the COVID‐19 global pandemic further jeopardized women’s health, mental well‐being, and safety: Intersectionality framework and social policy action. Journal of Social Issues. 2023;79(2):543-555. doi:10.1111/josi.12587

34. Lipp NS, Johnson NL. The impact of COVID‐19 on domestic violence agency functioning: A case study. Journal of Social Issues. 2022;79(2):735-746. doi:10.1111/josi.12549

35. Park H, Yu S. Men’s mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic: a scoping review. Journal of Men’s Health. 2022;18(9):1. doi:10.31083/j.jomh1809179

36. Capuano A, Rossi F, Paolisso G. COVID-19 Kills more men than Women: An overview of possible reasons. Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine. 2020;7. doi:10.3389/fcvm.2020.00131

37. Ellison JM, Semlow AR, Jaeger EC, Griffth DM. COVID-19 and MENtal Health: Addressing men’s mental health needs in the digital world. American Journal of Men’s Health. 2021;15(4):155798832110300. doi:10.1177/15579883211030021

38. Addis ME. Gender and depression in men. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice. 2008;15(3), 153-168.

39. Jarrett BA, Peitzmeier S, Restar A, et al. Gender-affirming care, mental health, and economic stability in the time of COVID-19: A multi-national, cross-sectional study of transgender and nonbinary people. PloS One. 2021;16(7):e0254215. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0254215

40. Klanšček HJ, Furman L. Socioeconomic Deprivation and Inequalities in Mental Well-Being during the COVID-19 Pandemic among Adolescents. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health/International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2023;20(13):6233. doi:10.3390/ijerph20136233

41. Min JJ, Choi S, Park H. Associations between accessibility to health care service, social support, and Korean Americans’ mental health status amid the COVID-19 pandemic. BMC Public Health. 2021;21(1). doi:10.1186/s12889-021-11820-7

42. Patel J, Nielsen FBH, Badiani AA, et al. Poverty, inequality and COVID-19: the forgotten vulnerable. Public Health. 2020;183:110-111. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2020.05.006

43. Reme B, Wörn J, Skirbekk V. Longitudinal evidence on the development of socioeconomic inequalities in mental health due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Norway. Scientific Reports. 2022;12(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-022-06616-7

44. Gualano MR, Santoro PE, Borrelli I, et al. TELEWORK-RelAted Stress (TERRA), Psychological and Physical Strain of working from home during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic review. Workplace Health & Safety. 2022;71(2):58-67. doi:10.1177/21650799221119155

45. Shipman KE, Burrell DN, Mac Pherson AH. An organizational analysis of how managers must understand the mental health impact of teleworking during COVID-19 on employees. International Journal of Organizational Analysis. 2021;31(4):1081-1104. doi:10.1108/ijoa-03-2021-2685

46. Dailey SF, Talleyrand RM, Goodman RD. Ethno-Racial Inequities of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Implications and recommendations for mental health professionals. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling. Published online March 11, 2024. doi:10.1007/s10447-024-09551-6

47. Gone JP. Redressing First Nations historical trauma: Theorizing mechanisms for indigenous culture as mental health treatment. Transcultural Psychiatry. 2013;50(5):683-706. doi:10.1177/1363461513487669

48. Oh S, Litam SDA, Chang CY. Racism and Stress-Related Growth among Asian Internationals: Ethnic identity, resilience, and coping during COVID-19. International Journal for the Advancement of Counselling. 2022;45(2):226-248. doi:10.1007/s10447-022-09494-w

49. Baumeister RF, Leary MR. The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation. Psychological Bulletin. 1995;117(3):497-529. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.117.3.497

50. Lee RM, Robbins SB. Measuring belongingness: The Social Connectedness and the Social Assurance scales. Journal of Counseling Psychology. 1995;42(2):232-241. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.42.2.232

51. Luszczynska A, Sarkar Y, Knoll N. Received social support, self-efficacy, and finding benefits in disease as predictors of physical functioning and adherence to antiretroviral therapy. Patient Education and Counseling. 2007;66(1):37-42. doi:10.1016/j.pec.2006.10.002

52. Arango A, Opperman KJ, Gipson PY, King CA. Suicidal ideation and suicide attempts among youth who report bully victimization, bully perpetration and/or low social connectedness. Journal of Adolescence. 2016;51(1):19-29. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2016.05.003

53. Kintzle S, Barr N, Corletto G, Castro CA. PTSD in U.S. Veterans: The role of social connectedness, combat experience and discharge. Healthcare. 2018;6(3):102. doi:10.3390/healthcare6030102

54. Ortega MR, Kuczynski AM, Kanter JW, De Montis IA, Santos M. A preliminary test of a social connectedness burnout intervention for Mexican mental health professionals. Psychological Record. 2019;69(2):267-276. doi:10.1007/s40732-019-00338-5

55. Haslam C, Cruwys T, Haslam SA. “The we’s have it”: Evidence for the distinctive benefits of group engagement in enhancing cognitive health in aging. Social Science & Medicine. 2014;120:57-66. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.08.037

56. Zagic D, Wuthrich VM, Rapee RM, Wolters N. Interventions to improve social connections: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 2021;57(5):885-906. doi:10.1007/s00127-021-02191-w

57. Nitschke JP, Forbes P, Ali N, et al. Resilience during uncertainty? Greater social connectedness during COVID‐19 lockdown is associated with reduced distress and fatigue. British Journal of Health Psychology. 2020;26(2):553-569. doi:10.1111/bjhp.12485

58. Baer RA, Smith GT, Allen KB. Assessment of Mindfulness by Self-Report. Assessment. 2004;11(3):191-206. doi:10.1177/1073191104268029

59. Hofmann S, Sawyer AT, Witt AA, Oh D. The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 2010;78(2):169-183. doi:10.1037/a0018555

60. Shapiro SL, Carlson LE, Astin JA, Freedman B. Mechanisms of mindfulness. Journal of Clinical Psychology. 2005;62(3):373-386. doi:10.1002/jclp.20237

61. Conversano C, Di Giuseppe M, Miccoli M, Ciacchini R, Gemignani A, Orrù G. Mindfulness, age and gender as protective factors against psychological distress during COVID-19 pandemic. Frontiers in Psychology. 2020;11. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01900

62. Zhu J, Sun L, Zhang L, et al. Prevalence and influencing factors of anxiety and depression symptoms in the First-Line medical staff fighting against the COVID-19 in Gansu. Social Science Research Network. Published online January 1, 2020. doi:10.2139/ssrn.3550054

63. Wu X. The effectiveness of compassion-focused group therapy on perceived stress in the COVID-19 epidemic among the academic women. Int J Early Child Spec Educ. 2021;30(2), 633-639. doi:10.24205/03276716.2020.4066

64. Bierbooms J, Van Haaren M, IJsselsteijn WA, Kort Y, Feijt MA, Bongers IMB. Integration of Online Treatment into the “New Normal” in Mental Health Care in Post–COVID-19 Times: Exploratory Qualitative study. JMIR Formative Research. 2020;4(10):e21344. doi:10.2196/21344

65. Bowe M, Wakefield JRH, Këllezi B, et al. The mental health benefits of community helping during crisis: Coordinated helping, community identification and sense of unity during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology. 2021;32(3):521-535. doi:10.1002/casp.2520

66. Elcheroth G, Drury J. Collective resilience in times of crisis: Lessons from the literature for socially effective responses to the pandemic. British Journal of Social Psychology. 2020;59(3):703-713. doi:10.1111/bjso.12403