CDC Details COVID-19’s Massive Mental Health Impact
— Young adults, people of color, essential workers, and adult caregivers particularly affected
Nearly 11% of American adults seriously considered suicide this June, according to CDC data.
Among 5,470 people surveyed in the last week of June:
- 30.9% reported symptoms of an anxiety or a depressive disorder
- 25.3% reported a traumatic or stressor-related disorder (TSRD)
- 13.3% said they were using substances to cope with the pandemic’s stressors, said Rashon Lane, MA, of the CDC’s COVID-19 Response Team
- 10.7% reported seriously considering suicide in the prior month, more than double the rate reported in a 2018 CDC survey, the researchers wrote in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Specifically, the risk for suicidal ideation was elevated among respondents:
- between ages 18 and 25 (25.5%)
- Hispanic respondents (18.6%)
- Black respondents (15.1%)
- unpaid adult caregivers (30.7%)
- essential workers (21.7%)
The “markedly” high rates of mental and behavioral health conditions show the “broad impact of the pandemic and the need to prevent and treat these conditions,” the authors wrote, adding that interventions to reduce these numbers should target financial strain, racial discrimination, social connectedness, and community supports for patients considering suicide.
Medical professionals cautioned that social isolation associated with social distancing, along with soaring unemployment rates, could further accelerate the national suicide crisis.
However, suicidal ideation should not be seen as an inevitability from this data, commented Jessica Gold, MD, MS, of the department of psychiatry at Washington University in St. Louis.
Instead, it should be seen as “a call for help,” and motivate the government, employers, families, and individuals to focus on the mental health needs of the population, Gold said.
“This study says we need help, especially in certain populations, and mental health needs to be a focus of all of our conversations,” she told MedPage Today in an email.
The web-based survey used the Patient Health Questionnaire to assess depression and anxiety symptoms and the Impact of Event Scale to assess pandemic-related TSRD. Substance use and suicidal ideation were self-reported.
Altogether, 40.9% reported having at least one mental or behavioral health condition. That proportion was higher among the following groups:
- Young adults ages 18-24 (74.9%) and 25-44 (51.9%)
- Hispanic respondents (52.1%)
- Individuals who did not receive a high school diploma (66.2%)
- Essential workers (54%)
- Unpaid adult caregivers (66.6%)
- Individuals with baseline mental health conditions (68.8%-88%)
Compared with CDC data from the second quarter of 2019, adults in this survey reported three times the rate of anxiety symptoms (25.5% vs 8.1%) and four times the rate of depression symptoms (24.3% vs 6.5%), the researchers stated. Overall, young people ages 18-24 had a far greater risk of considering suicide in the past 30 days than adults ages 45-64 (6.66, 95% CI 5.115-8.61) and adults ages 65 and up (12.51, 95% CI 7.88-19.86).
Hispanic and Black individuals were also at an elevated risk for anxiety or depressive symptoms, substance use, and suicidal ideation in the past 30 days compared with white respondents.
In an analysis of 1,497 respondents who also completed surveys in April and May, unpaid adult caregivers were more likely to start using substances to cope in June than they were in May (adjusted odds ratio 3.33, 95% CI1.75-6.31, P<0.001), and more likely to report new suicidal ideation in June (aOR 3.03,95% CI 1.20-7.63, P=0.019).
The survey relied on self-reported answers for some classifications and was web-based, both of which are limitations, Lane and co-authors noted.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
This UW Study shows 2/3 of High School Athletes are experiencing depression, and anxiety over canceled sports: https://upnorthnewswi.com/2020/07/15/uw-study-two-thirds-of-high-school-athletes-are-experiencing-depression-anxiety-over-canceled-sports/?
Please remember that all the mandates and orders have been made using flawed data: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2020/08/04/lockdown-deaths-not-covid-deaths/