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COVID-19 and Mental Health

By June 2, 2020 No Comments

COVID-19 Has Worsened Many People’s Mental Illness Symptoms

COVID-19 and Mental Health - Lifeworks Counseling CenterEveryone across the globe is experiencing a situation that we have never faced before. The current global pandemic caused by the swift spread of COVID-19 has impacted the lives of millions. The novel coronavirus has infected millions around the world, claiming the lives of thousands, as well. To combat the spread of COVID-19 and limit its impact, government bodies across the country issued stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders. Social distancing rules were also established to protect communities.

Unfortunately, due to these orders and guidelines, many places of business were temporarily closed. This eventually led to millions of people losing their jobs. Over 38 million Americans have filed unemployment over this time. It’s natural for people to feel scared and stress about COVID-19. They worry about the health and safety of themselves and their loved ones. However, due to many losing their jobs or having their hours or pay reduced, they also have financial worries. Additionally, humans are social beings, so limiting our social interaction has also impacted them. The mental health of millions has taken a hit because of the spread and impact of COVID-19.

While many people are rightfully worried about their physical health during the ongoing pandemic, millions of people’s mental health are suffering because of COVID-19, as well. Lifeworks Counseling Center understands how crucial maintaining your mental health at a period like this is. However, we also understand that, given the circumstances, it can be hard.

Mental Health Statistics

Mental health concerns have been prevalent for years, well before COVID-19 made its presence felt. Millions of people across the nation suffer from numerous mental health disorders. Unfortunately, the current pandemic has only worsened their symptoms, reducing their overall mental health. It’s vital to examine the state of mental health in the United States before COVID-19 to understand the scope of this virus’ impact.

  • One in five U.S. adults experiences mental illness every year, while one in 25 experience serious mental illness.
  • Half of all lifetime mental illnesses begin by the age of 14, while 75% start by age 24.
  • Among Americans age 10-34, suicide is the second leading cause of death.
  • Only 43.3% of U.S. adults received treatment for their mental illness in 2018. However, 64.1% of those with a serious mental illness did receive treatment.
  • There is an average 11-year delay between the onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment.
  • 60% of U.S. counties do not have at least one practicing psychiatrist.
  • Since 2001, the rate of suicide has increased by 31%.
  • 90% of those who died by suicide had shown signs of a mental health condition, according to statements from their loved ones.
  • Major depressive episodes, anxiety disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder are some of the most common mental health disorders.

As you can see, mental illness already affected countless individuals across the country. The nature of the response to COVID-19 has led even more people to experience mental illness symptoms.

COVID-19’s Impact

COVID-19 originated from China and quickly made its way around the world, infecting millions. The fear of contracting the virus yourself or one of your loved ones falling ill is enough to cause stress. However, when you include self-isolation and financial uncertainty, that stress begins to build. Naturally, people’s mental health will worsen.

According to a Pew Research Center survey, over a third of Americans have experienced high levels of psychological distress throughout the coronavirus pandemic. 55% of those who described their financial situation as poor have reported high levels of stress. The level of pandemic stress is significantly higher for young people. For those that are still employed, just about half of them feel comfortable discussing their mental health in the workplace.

70% of Americans report that the economy is a significant source of stress during the pandemic, which is an increase from 46% in 2019. Furthermore, the government’s response to the pandemic has caused stress in 67% of Americans.

In a recent KFF poll, 45% of American adults reported their worry and stress about COVID-19 has negatively impacted their mental health. Many Americans recognize their declining mental health during the current pandemic.

Social isolation and loneliness are two factors in many people’s declining mental health. 47% of those sheltering-in-place reported that coronavirus-related worry and stress had an impact on their mental health, compared to just 37% of those not sheltering-in-place. As we mentioned before, financial concerns and job security also cause more stress.

The impact of COVID-19 has caused millions of Americans to experience increased symptoms of mental health disorders. However, you are not alone, and you do have options.

Managing Your Mental Health

In early May 2020, the United Nations released a policy brief, discussing the need for action on mental health during the COVID-19 crisis. In this brief, they lay out the impact of COVID-19 on mental health, including how it affects certain demographics. They also include resources and ways that national decision-makers can help minimize these effects.

However, there are things that everyone can do themselves to help maintain their own mental health, such as:

  • Exercise: Even while social distancing, you can exercise. Physical fitness is one of the best ways to boost mental health.
  • Mindfulness: As we have stated, millions of Americans are feeling stressed and worried during this time. Mindfulness is a way to clear your mind. Examples of mindfulness include meditation and yoga.
  • Talk to Loved Ones: Reach out to your loved ones. Many of them probably feel the same way you do. Maintain your social networks even when you can’t meet in person.
  • Speak to a Professional: Sometimes, the best way to manage your mental health and reduce your symptoms is by speaking with a trained professional. These individuals understand what you are feeling and are here to help you navigate your condition.

We are living in unprecedented times. No one has experience with living in the middle of a pandemic, which has led to increases in stress and worry. It is no wonder levels of mental illness have risen during this period. If you or a loved one is struggling with your mental health during this time, contact Lifeworks Counseling Center to learn how we can help.

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