Idris Elba says coronavirus massively impacted his mental health

Jennifer Savin
·3-min read
Photo credit: Gregg DeGuire - Getty Images
Photo credit: Gregg DeGuire - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

If you cast your mind back to March, when the coronavirus pandemic really started to get a grip over the UK - but information was scarcer than it is now - Idris Elba was one of the first figures in the public eye to share on social media that he'd contacted the infection.

Addressing his followers, Idris explained that he had no symptoms but had tested positive. The actor and DJ captioned his video: "This morning I tested positive for Covid 19. I feel ok, I have no symptoms so far but have been isolated since I found out about my possible exposure to the virus. Stay home people and be pragmatic. I will keep you updated on how I’m doing. No panic."

Now, four mouths down the line, he's spoken out once more – this time focussing on the mental health implications of falling ill with COVID-19. "I was asymptomatic so I didn't get the major symptoms everyone else got. Mentally, it hit me very bad, because a lot was unknown about it," he said in an interview with the Radio Times.

Related video: Idris Elba is a man of many talents

"I felt very compelled to speak about it, just because it was such an unknown. So the mental impact of that on both myself and my wife was pretty traumatic. I needed the lockdown to try to get over it. And it turns out the world actually probably needed the lockdown, too."

Thankfully, the Luther icon shared that he's now feeling "lucky to be alive", "fully recovered" and thankful to have been able to "kick [the virus]".

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Idris has also recently been vocal about his support for the Black Lives Matter movement, signing an open letter calling for Black people in the entertainment industry to receive more investment. He also explained that he doesn't believe TV shows that were made in the past, such as Little Britain, should be taken off air and streaming sites, but suggested that some sort of rating system could be implemented.

"Commissioners and archive-holders pulling things they think are exceptionally tone deaf at this time - fair enough and good for you... but I think, moving forward, people should know that freedom of speech is accepted, but the audience should know what they're getting into. I don't believe in censorship."

While it's great to hear that Idris is feeling much better now, he's far from the only person who has spoken out about the impact of COVID-19 on their mental health, with Maggie Astor, a US-based reporter, sharing on Twitter that she struggled to tell if she was struggling to breath due to the virus' affect on the lungs or because of her anxiety.

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