If you’re struggling and ever felt that you’re not alone, new federal data should finally erase all doubt.
According to a Washington Post analysis of new data from the U.S. Census Bureau out last week, 34 out of 100 Americans reported symptoms of anxiety, depression, or both in the most alarming numbers to date on the status of the nation’s psyche amid the pandemic over the novel Wuhan coronavirus. Twenty were recorded to show symptoms of each, 10 exhibited signs of anxiety alone, and 4 possessed symptoms of just depression.
When asked screening questions on respondents’ mental health, 24 percent of Americans demonstrated clinically significant symptoms of major depression and 30 percent revealed signs of generalized anxiety.
These new findings, the Post reported, show a dramatic shift in the nation’s psychic well-being from pre-pandemic times with the percentage of those suffering from spiritual distress having doubled from the census survey in 2014.
While the novel coronavirus continues its inevitable spread, prolonged state and local lockdowns have exacerbated an existing crisis already chipping away at the nation’s fragile state of mind.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one of the world’s premier non-profits on mental health, 1 in 5 American adults already experience some type of mental illness each year, and 1 in 25 suffer from a condition considered far more serious. Suicides meanwhile, have become the 10th leading cause of death in the United States increasing 35 percent between 1999 and 2018.
The national suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255. More resources are here.
Financial distress and extreme isolation compounded by the uncertainty spurred by moving goalposts for returning to semblance of normalcy have further deteriorated the nation’s psyche. The mental health non-profit, Well Being Trust, estimates that upwards of 75,000 more people will succumb to the pandemic not from the virus but from deaths of despair brought on by the stress of the pandemic crises. Crisis hotlines meanwhile, have seen records shattered in the number of anxious callers seeking comfort. Some medical professionals have even begun to call for an end to the government lockdowns citing a rapid rise in suicide attempts flooding their hospitals rivaling those stricken with the coronavirus.
Dr. Mike deBoisblank, who serves as the head of the trauma department at John Muir Medical Center near San Francisco said last week his hospital witnessed a “year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks.”
“We’ve never seen numbers like this, in such a short period of time,” deBoisblank told ABC 7. “I think originally, this [shelter-in-place order] was put in place to flatten the curve and to make sure hospitals have the resources to take care of COVID patients. We have the current resources to do that and our other community health is suffering.”
Even as states begin to reopen, the nation’s mental health is still teetering on the brink of sanity as Americans are forced to adapt to its new temporary normal while observing the carnage of the ongoing shutdowns. State and local stay-home orders have already shuttered more than 100,000 small businesses landing millions out of work.
As new data continues to shed light on the growing psychic crisis at hand however, mental health is quickly becoming further destigmatized as more and more Americans report greater levels of mental stress. Now that 1 in 3 Americans have shown signs of clinical anxiety or depression, the popular mantra of mental health professionals exclaiming “you are not alone” has begun to cement its meaning in a new reality.
“People think we’re paid to say that,” East Tennessee therapist Allysen Efferson told The Federalist before emphasizing that it’s a core truth that everyone should realize.