February 19, 2021
COVID-19 has infected millions of people and upended the lives of most humans on the planet. Researchers from across the psychological sciences have sought to document and investigate the impact of COVID-19 in myriad ways, causing an explosion of research that is broad in scope, varied in methods, and challenging to consolidate. Because policy and practice aimed at helping people live healthier and happier lives requires insight from robust patterns of evidence, this paper provides a rapid and thorough summary of high-quality studies published in 2020 addressing two overarching questions. First, what are the mental health consequences of living through the COVID-19 pandemic? Second, what are the neurological sequelae of contracting COVID-19? Our review of the evidence indicates that some facets of mental health suffered greatly during the early months of the pandemic (e.g., anxiety and depression increased), while other facets (life satisfaction) and correlates (social connection, loneliness) notably displayed resilience. In addition, early neurological data indicate several consequences of contracting COVID-19, both during infection and after recovery. In response to these insights, we present seven recommendations (1 urgent, 2 short-term, 4 ongoing) to support mental health and well-being during the pandemic and beyond.
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