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CDC Study Sheds New Light on Mental Health Crisis Linked to Coronavirus Pandemic

The Covid-19 crisis has brought with it a mental health crisis in the United States, and new data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show just how broad the pandemic’s impact on mental health might be.

A new CDC survey found that almost 41% of respondents are struggling with mental health issues stemming from the pandemic — both related to the coronavirus pandemic itself and the measures put in place to contain it, including physical distancing and stay-at-home orders.

The findings, released Thursday in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, were based on an online survey of 5,412 adults living in the United States conducted between June 24 and 30.

The survey found that 40.9% of respondents reported at least one mental or behavioral health condition:

  • 31% said they’d experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression,
  • 26% said they’d experienced trauma or stressor-related disorder symptoms,
  • 13% said they’d started or increased substance use,
  • 11% said they’d seriously considered suicide in the last 30 days.

The survey showed that at least one adverse mental or behavioral health symptom was reported by more than half of respondents who were:

  • 18 to 24 years old, at 75%;
  • unpaid caregivers of adults, at 67%;
  • reporting they had less than a high school diploma, at 66%;
  • essential workers, at 54%;
  • 25 to 44 years old, at 52%.
The percentage among those who reported having been treated for existing mental health conditions was even higher.

The percentage of survey respondents who reported having seriously considered suicide within 30 days before completing the survey also varied among subgroups, the survey showed. Percentages were significantly higher among:

  • self-reported unpaid caregivers for adults, at 31%;
  • ages 18–24 years, at 26%;
  • essential workers, at 22%;
  • Hispanic respondents, at 19%;
  • Black respondents, at 15%.

In all, the researchers found that while symptoms of mental or behavioral health conditions varied significantly among subgroups, unpaid caregivers for adults fared the worst.

Before the pandemic, previous estimates have shown that, overall, nearly one in five — or 20% — of US adults live with a mental illness.

The study had some limitations, including that it was based on self-reported information from an online survey, which can lead to some biases if respondents are not honest in their answers around symptoms of depression, substance use, suicidal thoughts and other mental health topics.

Excerpted from “CDC Study Sheds New Light on Mental Health Crisis Linked to Coronavirus Pandemic.”  Read the full article on CNN. View the survey summary and findings on the CDC website.

Source: CNN | CDC Study Sheds New Light on Mental Health Crisis Linked to Coronavirus Pandemic, https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/13/health/mental-health-coronavirus-pandemic-cdc-study-wellness/index.html | © 2020 Cable News Network

A screening can help you determine if you or someone you care about should contact a mental health professional. CHC teletherapy services are available now.  Call or email our Care Managers at 650.688.3625 or careteam@chconline.org to set up a free 30-minute consultation appointment.

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