Mental health has been significantly impacted for the worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) conducted a study in July 2020 and found that 53% adults in the U.S. reported their mental health being negatively impacted because of COVID-19. The is a 20% increase from the same statistic measured in March. 36% of people reported difficulty sleeping, 32% difficulty eating, and 12% an increase in alcohol or substance consumption. Additionally, 12% of people reported a worsening of chronic health conditions. This is due to isolation, job loss, stress and worry.
There are three main categories of people effected from negative mental health implications.
- Social Isolation Linked to Poor Mental Health: Research links social isolation and loneliness to poor mental health. KFF found the data shows people who were sheltering in place reported significantly higher negative mental health effects from COVID-19 then those not sheltering in place.
- Job Loss: Those who have lost their jobs during the pandemic have increased depression, anxiety, distress, and low self-esteem that have lead to higher rates of substance use disorder and suicide among this population.
- Front-Line Workers: Poor mental health due to burnout among front-line workers.
People reporting anxiety disorder has greatly increased every month. 34.5% of people reported anxiety in May, 36.5% in June and 40.1% in July. Additionally, 13.3% of adults reported new or increased substance use as a way to manage stress due to COVID-19.
The study goes on in a detailed report on many other findings. Check out the article at https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/.
The findings paint a very alarming picture of the implications of COVID-19. With cases still rising and the need for many to still shelter in place or isolate, the need for mental health and substance use prevention is great. It is important for those impacted to reach out to community and support. Keep an eye out for future blogs on ways to improve mental health during this time. Check out these resources below.