Objective: To date, little evidence has been published about the mental health implications of recovery from COVID-19. The current study aimed to identify the mental challenges encountered by Israeli Air Force (IAF) personnel who recovered from COVID-19.
Method: A study of 350 participants (64% male; 43.3% career personnel; Mean age 25.5, SD=7.78) recovering from COVID-19 infection. Issues addressed: General contentment with life, perceived personal health in routine and over the recovery period, anxiety, and satisfaction with the handling of the COVID-19 crisis by the military and the government.
Results: The respondents’ satisfaction with the military handling of the crisis was above average (5.52 out of 10), and went up with age. An association was found between lower satisfaction and anxiety levels. The post-disease perception of health was significantly lower than in routine. Women rated their postdisease state of health lower than men, while no gender difference emerged in routine. Of the recovered individuals, 43% feared reinfection, and 30% were concerned that the virus lingered in their bodies for good. Finally, about 65% feared the future health effects of the virus, and 62% feared infecting their dear ones.
Conclusions: The convalescent population requires close medical follow-up and supportive care, with special attention to women, who reported high anxiety. It seems that many recovering individuals have misconceptions about the long-term effects of the disease. Dissemination of known medical information should therefore be expanded to reduce uncertainty.