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Publication Detail
‘I had no life. I was only existing’. Factors shaping the mental health and wellbeing of people experiencing long Covid: a qualitative study
Abstract

Background

Around one in 10 people who have COVID-19 report persistent symptoms or ‘long Covid’. Impaired mental health and wellbeing is commonly reported including anxiety, depression and reduced quality of life. There is however, limited in-depth research exploring why mental health and wellbeing have been impacted among people experiencing long Covid.

Aims

To explore factors impacting mental health and wellbeing, from the perspective of people with long Covid.

Method

Semi-structured qualitative interviews that were audio-recorded and transcribed. Data were analysed using reflexive thematic analysis. 21 people with long Covid participated in the study. Participants were eligible to take part if they self-reported a positive swab test/antibody test, or one or more commonly reported COVID-19 symptoms at illness onset and experiences of one or more long Covid symptom three or more weeks following illness onset.

Results

Five themes were identified across participant accounts regarding factors impacting mental health and wellbeing including i) experiences of care and understanding from others; ii) lack of service and treatment options; iii) severe disruption to daily life iv) uncertainty of illness trajectories and v) changes to identity.

Conclusions

People with long Covid experience a range of factors that negatively impact their mental health and wellbeing. Providing patient centred health services that integrate the rapidly evolving research in this area is important, as are peer support groups and supported approaches to self-management.
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