British Lung Foundation. What treatment can I expect if I have long-COVID symptoms?. 2021. (accessed 16 July 2021)

Mind. How long COVID challenged my mental health. 2020. (accessed 16 July 2021)

Nabavi N. Long covid: how to define it and how to manage it. BMJ. 2020; 370

NHS. Long-term effects of coronavirus (long COVID). 2021. (accessed 16 July 2021)

Pandharipande P, Ely EW, Arora RC The intensive care delirium research agenda: a multinational, interprofessional perspective. Intensive Care Med. 2017; 43:(9)1329-1339

Rogers JP, Chesney E, Oliver D. Psychiatric and neuropsychiatric presentations associated with severe coronavirus infections: a systematic review and meta-analysis with comparison to the COVID-19 pandemic. Lancet Psychiatry. 2020; 7:(7)611-627

Taquet M, Geddes J, Husain M, Luciano S, Harrison PJ. 6-month neurological and psychiatric outcomes in 236,379 survivors of COVID-19: a retrospective cohort study using electronic health records. Lancet Psychiatry. 2021a; 8:(5)416-427

Taquet M, Luciano S, Geddes JR, Harrison PJ. Bidirectional associations between COVID-19 and psychiatric disorder: retrospective cohort studies of 62 354 COVID-19 cases in the USA. Lancet Psychiatry. 2021b; 8:(2)130-140

Torales J, O'Higgins M, Castaldelli-Maia JM, Ventriglio A. The outbreak of COVID-19 coronavirus and its impact on global mental health. Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2020; 66:(4)317-320

How COVID-19 attacks the brain. 2020.

Long COVID and mental health

02 August 2021
Volume 26 · Issue 8

Long COVID is when a variety of symptoms (that may come in different clusters for different groups of people) persist beyond the initial infection stage of the COVID-19 illness. The infection will have gone, but the symptoms may remain and mostly clear up within 12 weeks (NHS, 2021); however, they can persist for much longer. Nabavi (2020) discussed the symptoms of long COVID, and one of the main ones noted was profound fatigue. A wide range of other symptoms were also noted by Nabavi (2020), including cough, breathlessness, muscle and body aches, chest heaviness or pressure, skin rashes, palpitations, fever, headache, diarrhoea and pins and needles, with a very common feature being the illness relapsing and remitting, where the patient may feel they have recovered but then suddenly feel unwell again.

The NHS (2021) updated their list of symptoms of long COVID, adding the symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is understandable why extreme fatigue with other symptoms of physical illness, which never seem to fully go, would affect someone's mood. However, there may be more of a neurological impact that also contributes to this state of mind, rather than just the depressing nature of the physical symptoms and the length of illness. This article explores the evidence available to shed light on the association between long COVID and mental health.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting Community Nursing and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for district and community nurses. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month