Numbers from a June survey conducted by the CDC are showing that nationwide, the U.S. is experiencing a mental health crisis connected to the coronavirus pandemic.
The CDC survey results showed more than 40% of U.S. adults are struggling with mental health or substance use.
Of the 5,470 people who completed the survey, nearly 31% said they had experienced symptoms of anxiety disorder or depression. About 26% said they’d had symptoms of trauma and stressor-related disorders (which include acute stress disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and adjustment disorder) and 10% said they’d started or increased substance use because of the coronavirus.
Thoughts of suicide also increased at a concerning rate.
Approximately twice as many respondents reported serious consideration of suicide in the prior 30 days than did adults in the United States in 2018, the CDC reported. Groups of particular concern include young adults, racial/ethnic groups, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers.
In its summary, the CDC said these surges in mental health conditions show how much of an impact the pandemic is having on our mental health and the importance of treating and preventing these conditions. The organization stressed the need to address health inequities, as part of any mental health response, including increasing access to diagnosis and treatment options.
More work also needs to be done to identify the triggers for reported disorder increases during the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of factors such as social isolation, lack of regular school structures, and financial concerns, the CDC said.
The impact of the virus over the coming months and the continued disruption to our lives makes that response even more crucial. Even a vaccine is unlikely to remove all stressors.
In its report on the survey, the Miami Herald cited the Well Being Trust as saying the impact of the pandemic will continue for months or perhaps years and “plant the seeds for as many as 75,000 “deaths of despair.”