Mental Check In
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Anxiety and Depression Surge? Study Shows Numbers Have Tripled During Pandemic

The current pandemic has essentially flipped life upside down.

Many Americans are facing an unprecedented amount of uncertainty: closed schools and businesses, losing sources of income, and even just trying to stay healthy are among the many concerns weighing on people right now.

With so much going on, it comes as no surprise that it’s overwhelming for many.

Pandemic and Economic Troubles Causing a Surge in Anxiety and Depression

Ever since the coronavirus reached the United States, causing nationwide lockdowns and other problems, we’ve also seen a rise in anxiety and depression.

After all, between the pandemic itself and health concerns, plus the economic fallout, there are plenty of unknowns — and it’s putting everyone on edge. It can be hard to deal with all that stress and pressure.

But for people already susceptible to depression or anxiety, it can be even harder to wrangle.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit organization that focuses on national health issues and health policy, recently published a new study that shows a surge in reports of anxiety and depression among adults. The increase coincides with the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic downturn.

Researchers examined national and state-level data on mental health — both before and during the pandemic.

In 2019, the organization found 11 percent of adults reported having symptoms of depression or anxiety.

However, amid the pandemic, those numbers have jumped. Data for June 2020 shows that nearly 37 percent of adults in the U.S. reported symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Of course, that number is a national average, as reports vary by state. The states with the highest percentage of adults reporting anxiety or depression symptoms are Louisiana (42.9%), Florida (41.5%), and Oregon (41.3%).

Uncertainty presents a particular problem for many people, as they are now unable to plan for the future and don’t know what to expect down the road. There are just too many unknowns. It can be especially difficult for someone already suffering from anxiety.

On top of that, people are (understandably) concerned overexposure to COVID-19, for themselves and their families. They’re worried about if they go back to work, what are they exposing themselves to?

How to Deal With Mental Health Issues During the Pandemic

There’s not much we can do to control the pandemic or the ensuing economic fallout. However, it’s important to recognize if you’re over-stressed, and deal with it properly.

Basic self care is an important part of relieving stress. Try your best to eat healthily, get plenty of rest at night, and try to get regular exercise. Of course, you should also do something every day that helps you relax or makes you feel good.

Plus, seeking treatment when necessary should be a big focus. While the demand for mental health resources has increased during the pandemic, don’t let the shortage or stay-at-home orders convince you not to talk to a professional.

Many mental health professionals have rolled out telehealth appointments in the face of the pandemic and lockdowns. That means that you can still see mental health professionals without leaving the safety of your own home.

Kat Sweet

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