Insights from the Shine community

The Mental Health Impact of COVID-19 We Aren’t Talking About

Where were you when you first realized the impact COVID-19 would have on your daily life?

Maybe you were at the office and got the email that you’d be working remotely for the rest of “insert current month here.” Maybe you’d just gotten one of your last truly restful nights and woken up to a disturbing news clip. Perhaps you were already pulling an all-nighter at one of the hospitals that was starting to feel a rise in cases and a shortage of PPE.

As a nation and world — this will be the story we tell, of where our collective trauma began.

Since COVID-19 came into our lives, many of us are attempting to wrap our heads around what we’re calling “our new now.” While some of us are having the darkest days of our lives, others are trying to find meaning or build a community to get through.

At Shine, we’re committed to making it easier for everyday people to care for their mental health. And as one of the most diverse mental health communities in the world, we knew it was crucial to dig into how our mental health has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below, what we learned about the state of mental health from our recent survey of 1,257 Shine members.

Our mental health is declining, with anxiety being the #1 challenge.

Collectively, mental health is suffering in the wake of COVID-19.

Since the pandemic began, 52% of people report that their mental health has worsened, and 70% of them cite the top reason as “uncertainty about the future.”

When asked what word best describes how they’re feeling, 68% of people said anxious — with stress, worry, and overwhelm trailing just behind.

But the pandemic is actually destigmatizing the conversation around mental health.

A side effect of this collective anxiety: Many people have found themselves opening up more to friends and family about their mental health.

Since the pandemic began, 52% of people said they’re talking about their mental health more with others, citing the fact that knowing “other people are also struggling” is the top reason why.

You read that right: Mental health, one of the most stigmatized topics in history, is being talked about more openly because of the fact that people know they are not alone in their pandemic struggles.

“There has been less small talk and more deep, emotional and open conversation with friends and family especially about our mental state during this pandemic,” one Shine member said.

And another member: “I am feeling more emotionally connected to others because I know that I need help and others do as well. This reality is nothing like anything that I have ever experienced before in my life.”

There was also a strong correlation between those were talking about their mental health and those who were turning to self-compassion to navigate this pandemic.

People who are talking to others about their mental health more during the pandemic reported a 49% higher rate of practicing self-compassion than people who aren’t talking about their mental health more during this time.

Additionally, a whopping 73% of people said they’re feeling more grateful since the pandemic began, with food, shelter, family and healthcare and essential workers taking the top spots for what people are most appreciative of.

We’re At a Pivotal Moment in the History of Mental Health

The data is clear. Just as this pandemic is a turning point in history, it’s also a turning point in how we care for our mental health.

More people are pushing past the stigma that surrounds mental health and being more open about how they’re feeling during this time. And one crucial benefit of this is clear from our survey: Talking about our mental health can help us be kinder to ourselves.

Now, it’s up to us to decide where we go from here: Do we lean into openness and honesty to continue the conversation around mental health or do we return to a “normal” where such conversations were far and few between?

At Shine, we’re committed to the first path — helping people feel less alone in their mental health challenges.

Our Response to COVID-19: Introducing The Daily Shine Podcast

Since the pandemic began, we’ve seen an unprecedented spike in both growth and engagement, largely in response to the daily meditations and community discussions we’ve facilitated specifically around coping with COVID-19.

Some of the most powerful feedback has come from those on the front lines:

“As a healthcare worker, I am often busy and overwhelmed so when I have lunch or come home I use Shine to keep me going.”

But we know we can reach more people — and help others realize they're not alone in their mental health struggles around this pandemic.

That’s why today, we’re excited to announce our latest product: The Daily Shine podcast.

The Daily Shine is a fresh weekday podcast-meets-meditation that’s inspired by our community and focused on helping you cope with COVID-19. We’ll cover things like accepting uncertainty, combating negative self-talk, releasing guilt around “doing less” during this time, and more.

Each episode is only about seven minutes long, offering you a quick way to bring more ease and intention to your day. And starting today, you can listen on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Now more than ever, mental health deserves a spot in your conversations with friends, your daily self-care routine — and your podcast lineup.

Let’s keep the conversation going.

— —

*Design credit: Catalog (



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store