As we enter a new school year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts are warning about an alarming outbreak of increasing poor mental health. These days it seems that nothing can be too certain and things that we used to take for granted can be extra stressful like a trip to the store, taking public transportation, going to work/ school, or traveling. In addition, feelings of grief and loss are prevalent, whether it be a mourning of life or of things that were anticipated. For many, it is becoming more difficult to experience interest or pleasure in things previously enjoyed such as celebrations, or taking part in a favorite activity. I know for me celebrations during the year of 2020 have felt disappointing and more isolating during a time of social distancing and I worry about the long-term implications, especially for those who are lacking social support. With the uncertainty of no end in sight, economic and political stress, and the holidays/ winter months soon approaching, I want to make a plea.
Now is the time more than ever to seek mental health treatment.
I recognize that there has been a stigma with mental health but it is time to speak up and get help. We are all at-risk or suffering. Rates of depression among adults in the U.S. have tripled as researchers estimate that more than 1 in 4 U.S. adults are reporting depressive symptoms during-the-covid-19-pandemic. Prior to the pandemic, 8.5% of adults were reporting being depressed; this number has increased to 27.8%. Overall reported numbers of Americans struggling with mental health appear to rise as the months go on–30%, 40%, 50% and increasing. These numbers are staggering!
Considering that suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death among those ages 10-34, and the 4th leading cause of death among those between the ages of 35- 54 per the 2018 Leading Causes of Death Reports, suicide rates, substance use, and domestic violence have continued to climb since the pandemic. By late June 2020, 11% of all adults and 25% of those ages 18 to 24 had seriously considered suicide in the past month according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Some of our most vulnerable populations are experiencing disproportionately worse mental health outcomes including young adults, racial/ ethnic minorities, and essential workers. Children and their caregivers are also especially at risk for mental health treatment with the uncertainty of school, social isolation, and the impact of stress and parent/ caregiver stress on the family system.
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