South Africans’ stress levels increase by 56% since start of pandemic

by SammyOctober 16, 2020

A national survey conducted by a leading pharmaceutical firm and advocate for mental wellness has revealed a significant increase in psychological and emotional stress among South Africans as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 1, 200 South African adults were polled across the country by Pharma Dynamics to gain an insight into how South Africans have been impacted by the pandemic.

He shared that the survey assessed a broad range of psychosocial effects related to the pandemic, which affected a large majority of the population in the following ways:

  • More than half (53 percent) of respondents either lost their job, had to take a pay-cut or was forced to close a business.
  • Fifty-six percent has higher levels of psychological and emotional distress than before the pandemic.
  • Eighty-one percent turned to unhealthy food, 20 percent to alcohol, 18 percent to cigarettes, six percent to smoking cannabis and 22 percent to antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication to help them cope with the stressors of the last few months.
  • Sixty-five percent admitted to neglecting their health.
  • Fifty-two percent has trouble sleeping.
  • Twenty percent of couples are quarreling more than before, physical spousal abuse has also increased by five percent.
  • Sixty-eight percent are worried about the impact of the pandemic on society and the economy.
  • Forty-four percent struggle to relax and 49 percent feel anxious, 48 percent frustrated, 31 percent depressed and a significant, six percent, have contemplated suicide.


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