Has COVID-19 affected your mental wellbeing? Here’s how to get started on combatting it

Written by: Dr Sylvia Tang
Edited by: Emma McLeod

Dr Sylvia Tang, a leading London consultant adult psychiatrist, is on hand to explain the several ways the coronavirus pandemic has impacted the population’s mental health and wellbeing. She also provides tips to get you started on combating the virus’ impact on your mental health.

A man wearing a face mask

Is the nation’s mental wellbeing different now compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic?

There is some evidence that particularly young people have been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic, suffering from an increase in depression and anxiety. Since the end of lockdown, more patients are being admitted to A&E with more severe illness, particularly relapses of psychotic illnesses that require detention under the Mental Health Act.


Others are struggling with long-term complications after having COVID-19, which also affects their mood and anxiety. For these patients, it can be particularly distressing when they feel they’re being labelled as suffering from the physical symptoms of anxiety. However, this isn’t as frequent since post-COVID symptoms were recently identified.


How do you think the pandemic has affected people's mental health?

There seems to have been an increase in relapse of pre-existing conditions that may have been mainly under control, such as eating disorders, anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) and anxiety disorders.


People have struggled with isolation. Being unable to go to the office, the gym or to meet friends has resulted in the deterioration of their mood and anxiety. They feel a loss of purpose and are not motivated to maintain a routine.


What advice can you give to those who are struggling mentally during the pandemic?

It’s really important to:

  • Maintain an active routine
  • Exercise every day
  • Plan daytime activities (e.g. hobbies, household tasks)
  • Eat regularly
  • Maintain a regular bedtime
  • Plan social interaction (either remotely or socially distanced)


For more severe illnesses, it’s important to seek professional help. This is available either by video call or face-to-face. There are a variety of therapies available to you, as well as treatment with medication if necessary.


Has your mental wellbeing been affected by the pandemic? Dr Tang can help you overcome this – learn more and get in touch.

By Dr Sylvia Tang

Dr Sylvia Tang is a highly-trained consultant adult psychiatrist based in London with over 29 years of experience treating patients with a wide range of mental health symptoms. Her areas of expertise include depression, anxiety, emotional instability, eating disorders, OCD and PTSD.

Dr Tang graduated with an MBBS degree from The Royal London Medical School in 1992. She later completed her specialist training at various London hospitals, including the Royal Free Hospital, and then becoming a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in 1997 and finally, a fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Her first consultant post was in 2001 at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. Whilst practising here, she also became the Medical Director in 2006 and then the Deputy Chief Executive in 2012.

Dr Tang joined the Priory Group in 2014 as the Group Medical Director. She later became the Chief Executive of Priory Healthcare in 2016 until she left in 2019. During both periods, she was also part of several committees which included the NHS England London Clinical Senate Council, where she was one of the 11 clinical experts reviewing evidence for service reconfiguration in London, the NHSE National Mental Health Payment Steering Group and London Mental Health Strategic Clinical Network.

In regards to her approach to treatment, she believes in working closely with her patients to deliver an individualised care plan that they believe in. She has always received exceptional feedback from her patients and has even been thanked by many individuals and their families for saving their lives. She works particularly with people when they are at their most desperate to ensure they get the right care and support that they need.

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