Psychological impacts of a pandemic on children and adults

The Covid-19 pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way we live our lives in Australia. As well as the physical impacts of the virus, it is important not to neglect the psychological effects that the pandemic has had on both children and adults alike. In this blog, we look at the key psychological impacts of the pandemic and the solutions.

Children and grandmother are making music together


Anxiety is a common condition and has been part of human life since time began. It is an emotion that prepares us for danger and stress. However, feeling a large amount of anxiety in daily life is very unhealthy and can have damaging psychological impacts. For many people, the pandemic has worsened their existing anxiety or triggered anxiety which they have never experienced before. Some people are worried about catching the virus, becoming ill and passing it on to others. For others, the disruption to normal life and daily restrictions causes extreme anxiety.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, known as OCD, is a condition where people experience frequent unwanted thoughts. These thoughts are intrusive and disruptive and are linked to perceived danger. To combat these thoughts, the person may carry out repetitive behaviours or rituals. For some, Covid-19 has brought on or worsened their OCD. Some people have obsessive thoughts surrounding contamination, which can lead to excessive washing or cleaning. Others may have thoughts that they have passed on the virus to their loved ones leading to feelings of guilt. For those with OCD, carrying out repetitive compulsions only makes the condition worse.


A phobia is an extreme or irrational fear of something. For those who have a phobia of illness, the ongoing pandemic is a very stressful situation. This is because the pandemic is affecting every part of our daily lives and it is unclear when it will be over. Phobias can particularly affect young children who do not understand the virus and worry that it will harm them. While it is natural to fear the unknown in some occasions, an overwhelming and debilitating phobia can be a real psychological problem.

How counselling can help

Fortunately, there are solutions out there which can help with these issues. Counselling deals with the root of psychological problems, using a range of talking therapies to help ease the issue. The number of counselling sessions can range depending on the needs of the individual. Counsellors are trained to deal with common issues such as anxiety, trauma, OCD and phobias; many issues which may have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Using several techniques, a counsellor can help a patient understand and overcome the psychological impacts of the pandemic.

Counselling in Darwin

If you or a loved one have been struggling to cope because of the pandemic, then contact Stepping Stones Therapy. We offer counselling services in Darwin for young people and older adults in a professional and safe environment. For more information, get in touch today.


Picture of Barbara Kapser

Barbara Kapser

Barbara Kapser is our psychologist at Stepping Stones in Life Therapy Service in Darwin. She's a member with the Australian Psychological Society and the Australian Association for Infant Mental Health.
She specialises in perinatal infant mental health, attachment disorders, developmental trauma and behaviour support.