Search about financial difficulties and disaster relief were the most searched for information in the Google during the Covid 19 pandemic months of March and April, according to researchers at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center
They found that googling related to suicide decreased during the period. The findings are published in PLOS One. However, the researchers have also raised concern over the increase of increase of Google searches related to financial distress and disaster relief during the early months of Covid 19 pandemic.
Several researchers the world over have started to look into the impact of the pandemic on mental health and how it is related to suicidal behaviour and ultimately moving towards death.
Researchers in the United States and elsewhere have begun studying the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, but the impact on suicidal behavior and deaths is difficult to assess due to lag time in the availability of mortality data. The researchers in the present study looked into the suicidal risks and also the quantum of searches. They also looked into the potential dangers of long term impact of the pandemic. This is where researchers have raised concern about the long term impact as people are more into searching matters related to financial distress and its relief.
The researchers found a relative increases in search terms related to financial distress such as “I lost my job,” “furlough and “unemployment,” There was also a lot of search related to National Disaster Distress Helpline. They said at the searches related to depression was a bit higher than the pre pandemic period, and moderately higher for panic attack.
The researchers pointed out that people were more stressed with job loss and isolation. Though the people are found to reach for help, the impact on suicidal behaviour was manifested, they said.. They also noted that depression could take longer to develop. However, panic attacks could be a more immediate reaction to job loss and having to deal with emotionally charged events amidst the social isolation of the pandemic, the study said.
The researchers say that the present findings showed the deeper knowledge of how to deal with immediate emotional and financial effects of the pandemic,