Severe mental illness, which includes bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, may put a person at increased risk for developing COVID-19. Living with unfamiliar and unprecedented rules related to quarantine and safety procedures that are now mandated is difficult enough for people who do not deal with mental health issues. Factor in a severe mental illness, and stress and anxiety levels can often rocket sky-high. The erratic behavior sometimes exhibited by those dealing with severe mental illness can increase the likelihood that they will be unwilling or unable to follow government and medically mandated rules related to staying safe during the pandemic. 

Where People with Severe Mental Illness Live May Increase COVID-19 Risk

Many people living with severe mental illness live in group settings, such as inpatient psychiatric units, group homes, homeless shelters, and prisons. Close proximity to other residents, as well as overcrowding, can make social distancing difficult, if not impossible. These living situations increase the risk of contracting COVID-19, adding a burden to what is an already trying set of life circumstances.

Psychiatric Hospitals Expect Influx of COVID-19 Patients

The Journal of the American Medical Association says psychiatric hospitals and local clinics are gearing up for an increased number of people with COVID-19. People living with severe mental illness already deal with an extra hardship of procuring stable housing, groceries, medications, and needed health care. When the added pressure and confusion of the pandemic is factored in, it can be more than this population can deal with, resulting in a higher need for mental health hospitals and other services. 

Life is strenuous enough when you’re dealing with a severe mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Most people already experience difficulty coping with the changing rules of living within a society gripped by a pandemic, but those with severe mental health issues may often find it even more challenging, if not impossible, at times. Residential programs like those offered by Alta Loma provide a respite from trying to navigate a confusing and frightening world during COVID-19. We provide our patients with a private home-like setting with a small number of residents, allowing for a place to work on managing symptoms that is removed from the chaos of current day life. Alta Loma provides CDC and Dept. of Health compliant treatment with daily screenings for COVID-19 symptoms. We disinfect regularly and supply PPE and hand sanitizer to residents and staff. Call (866) 457-3843 today to discuss options for treatment for severe mental illness.