Although it can be agreed that the nationwide lockdown came with some positive mental health benefits, such as added time at home with family, but it has also highlighted the negative effect on our physical and mental health.  With many of us remaining at home, its indirect consequences mean doing less in terms of social interactions and exercise.

While the primary threat posed by COVID-19 is to people’s physical health, the pandemic is also taking its toll on economies, social and cultural activities, and people’s mental health.  The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic and the management of it may be experienced as stressful by some people, which may have an effect on mental health.  

A recent survey conducted by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) found that nearly half of the 1 214 respondents felt that financial stress and pressure were one of the main challenges during the lockdown.  Adding to this, over half of respondents cited anxiety and panic as a major challenge.

Suntosh Pillay, a clinical psychologist working in the public sector in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, in a recent article speculated that we could see a massive rise in depression following the pandemic He anticipates that people are going to experience intense feelings of depression in the aftermath of the pandemic, especially as they deal with the aftereffects of the economic meltdown.  In an article in Spotlight he states: “People’s feelings are exacerbated to the extremes at the moment, especially because of the uncertainty of what’s going to happen … it takes a toll on mental health even if it doesn’t lead to serious mental illness.  It definitely leaves people in a perpetual state of stress”.  He concludes that only the future will be able to tell us if these weeks in lockdown have created a rise in mental illness or not.

While an emphasis must be placed on containing COVID-19, its impact on psychological wellbeing should not be ignored.  In an open statement by the Psychological Society of South Africa (PSYSSA) the Society urges anyone experiencing declining mental health to contact a professional for assistance. For mental health and wellbeing tips and strategies to continue looking after oneself and each other during these difficult times, please visit the Counselling and Careers Development Unit at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.

2019 Income Disability and Critical/Severe Illness claims analysis

Annually Sanlam Corporate: Group Risk (hereafter referred to as SGR) analyses the disability and critical / severe illness insurance claims received during the previous year according to the causes of disability/claim events. 

The results for the 2019 year confirmed the trends observed from the previous year in that cancer and cardiovascular diseases are still the most prevalent reasons for critical/severe illness claims.To view the results of our analysis, click here.