“What I can say is that there is an increase of mental health challenges; may not be as far as having a mental health disorder, but some challenges in coping. In COVID, you have loss of life, loss of loved ones, loss of jobs, you have a lot of anxiety [and] you have depression. Those persons who would have had mental health challenges before, it may or may not affect them, and those who did not have challenges before, because they did not have these external situations happening to them, obviously it would have impacted on their wellbeing,” he said.
Barrow also noted that although those suffering mentally may not have visited any health-care institution physically for help, there has been an increase in digital interactions with psychiatrists over video and over the phone.
“[They may] not necessarily come into a hospital, but [they] would seek support from the [Psychiatric] Hospital itself because we have the Assessment Unit and it does not mean you have to come to the hospital, you can call us if you want someone to talk to.
“There was a surge, not a big one, of suicide when COVID first began, and the hospital quickly acted on that and brought in a hotline where if you can’t seem to actually get in hospital you can call and tell us your problem there and we can counsel you,” he added.
The team behind the $1000 winning entry, Kevin ‘Sluggy Dan’ Watson and Randy Eastmond of Quantum Productions, both said that their entry into the competition was fueled primarily by their wish to see more attention drawn to mental health issues, predominantly experienced by the youth.