A BBC tweet about mental health amid the COVID-19 pandemic has inspired an onslaught of darkly funny lockdown anecdotes.
The subject matter of the original tweet was no joke: It linked to a BBC article about research on the mental health consequences of the pandemic. The headline? “Mental-health crisis from Covid pandemic was minimal ― study.”
Canadian researchers analyzed 137 studies on mental health amid the pandemic and found a “high level of resilience” at the “population level,” the published paper read.
However, the research had a big caveat. As the BBC noted:
The review did not look at lower-income countries, or specifically focus on children, young people and those with existing problems, the groups most likely affected, experts say, and risks hiding important effects among disadvantaged groups.
On Twitter, multiple readers pointed out that the research appears to have excluded many of the very people whose mental health seems likely to be most affected. (The study itself acknowledges this, noting in the abstract: “High risk of bias in many studies and substantial heterogeneity suggest caution in interpreting results.”)
Additionally, other research ― some of it previously reported by the BBC ― has found evidence of significant mental health effects stemming from the pandemic. A World Health Organization report from last year, for instance, found that in the pandemic’s first year, anxiety and depression increased by 25% globally.
While some Twitter users were quick to point out flaws with the latest study’s conclusion (the BBC’s tweet now has an “added context” note amended to it), others took a blackly humorous approach. Many people used the headline as a jumping-off point to talk about moments early in the pandemic where things got especially strange.
There was a good amount of pet content.
And a lot of reminiscing about getting a little too into the game “Animal Crossing.”
But most of the anecdotes were, frankly, difficult to categorize.
Need help with substance use disorder or mental health issues? In the U.S., call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.