A new government report found that about 41% of adults surveyed in late June "reported an adverse mental or behavioral health condition." That is quite higher than 2019. The data shows that the number of Americans suffering from an anxiety disorder had tripled by late June compared to the same time last year, and the number of those with depression had jumped fourfold.
The findings are based on surveys conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from June 24-30,
About 1 in every 10 survey respondents also said they'd started or increased their use of alcohol or illicit drugs during the pandemic, said a team led by Rashon Lane, of the CDC's COVID-19 Response Team.
Suicidal thoughts are on the rise, too: Compared to data from 2018, "approximately twice as many respondents reported serious consideration of suicide in the previous 30 days," the report stated.
"Mental health practitioners and organizations had predicted an increase in mental health problems associated with the pandemic, and this study provides important data to support the public health concerns that have been raised," said psychiatrist Dr. Timothy Sullivan.
He believes there's particular strain on Americans who've been entrusted with the care of others.
In the new report, "over 30% of caregivers reported suicidal thoughts, as did more than 21% of essential workers," said Sullivan, who directs psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City.
The study was based on confidential online surveys conducted among more than 5,400 Americans over the age of 17. Some had already participated in similar surveys conducted in April and May.
The strain on unpaid caregivers for adults -- people taking care of disabled loved ones at home -- seems particularly troublesome. According to the study, the rate of substance abuse and/or suicidal thoughts among unpaid caregivers more than tripled between May and the end of June, Lane's group reported.
(Source: Web MD)