Long Covid's hidden toll: Exploring the impact on mental health

As a Humanistic mental health therapist, I have seen the significant impact that long Covid can have on mental health. Long Covid, also known as post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC); refers to the persistence of symptoms beyond the acute phase of Covid-19, often lasting for months after the initial infection. 


While much attention has been paid to the physical health implications of long Covid, its impact on mental health is equally significant.

First and foremost, those with long Covid often experience significant anxiety and depression. This is likely due to a combination of factors, including ongoing physical symptoms, uncertainty about the future, and social isolation. Many individuals with long Covid also report feeling stigmatised or dismissed by medical professionals, leading to further anxiety and distress.

In addition to anxiety and depression, long Covid can also exacerbate pre-existing mental health conditions, such as PTSD or OCD. For example, individuals who have experienced severe illness or hospitalisation as a result of Covid-19 may experience flashbacks or other symptoms of trauma.

Supporting those with long Covid 

So, what can be done to support those with long Covid from a mental health perspective? Here are a few strategies that I have found to be helpful:

Acknowledge the experience

For many individuals with long Covid, feeling dismissed or not taken seriously by medical professionals can be a major source of distress. As a therapist, it is important to validate their experience and acknowledge the impact that long Covid can have on mental health.

Encourage coping strategies

Encourage clients to engage in coping strategies that promote relaxation and stress reduction, such as deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation.

Address social isolation

Social isolation is a common experience among individuals with long Covid. Encourage clients to stay connected with friends and loved ones through virtual means, such as video calls or social media.

Collaborate with medical professionals

Finally, it is important to collaborate with medical professionals to ensure that clients are receiving comprehensive care. This may include referrals to specialists or support groups for individuals with long Covid.

The NHS in England recognises that people with long Covid can experience a range of physical and mental health symptoms, including mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

Front-line advice for those suffering from mental health issues from long Covid includes:

  • Speak to your GP: If you are experiencing mental health symptoms as a result of long Covid, you should speak to your GP, who can assess your symptoms and provide advice on appropriate treatment and support.
  • Access mental health services: The NHS provides mental health services that can help individuals manage mental health symptoms related to long Covid, such as talking therapies, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and medication.
  • Consider support groups: There are several support groups available for individuals with long Covid, which can offer a safe space to share experiences and provide emotional support.
  • Self-care: Practicing self-care, such as getting enough sleep, eating well, and engaging in physical activity, can help improve mental health and well-being for individuals with long Covid.
  • Seek support from loved ones: Having a support network of friends and family members can be helpful for individuals with long Covid who are experiencing mental health symptoms.

Overall, the front-line advice from NHS England for those suffering with mental health issues from long Covid is to seek support from a GP or mental health professional, access mental health services, consider support groups, practice self-care, and seek support from loved ones.

It is important to seek help as soon as possible, as early intervention can improve outcomes for individuals with mental health problems related to long Covid. In conclusion, long Covid can have significant mental health implications, including anxiety, depression and exacerbation of pre-existing mental health conditions.

As therapists, it is important to validate the experience of those with long Covid, encourage coping strategies, address social isolation, and collaborate with medical professionals to ensure comprehensive care. By doing so, we can support the mental health and well-being of those with long Covid.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Guildford GU5 & GU2
Guildford GU5 & GU2

Donna Morgan is a highly experienced Humanistic Mental Health Therapist with 26 years of practice. Her passion for helping individuals with their mental health has driven her to develop a compassionate and holistic approach to therapy. Donna firmly believes in treating each client as a unique individual and providing them with personalised support

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