Effects of COVID-19 on Mental Health in the United States: CDC Report

Large disease outbreaks have been linked to mental health problems. The current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has negatively impacted millions of people worldwide, many with their jobs, businesses and even theirs Have lost loved ones.

The spread of disease and the increase in the death toll during a major outbreak are associated with fear and sadness. Social limitations and isolation can increase the risk of mental health problems.

Researchers from the National Center for Health Statistics and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that recent symptoms of anxiety and depression increased during the pandemic, particularly between August 2020 and February 2021.

The study, published in the CDC Weekly Report on Morbidity and Mortality (MMWR), underscores the importance of assessing the impact of strategies for managing adult mental health status during the pandemic. In this way, they can help plan strategies and interventions for the affected groups.

Mental health problems and the pandemic

The pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, infecting more than 128 million people worldwide. To date, more than 2.8 million people have died from COVID-19.

The pandemic has put social restrictions and measures to reduce the spread of the virus, including shutting down non-essential businesses. As a result, many people lost their jobs. Unemployment, the loss of a loved one, being infected with COVID-19, and the global impact of the pandemic all increased the risk of mental health problems.

The study

The US CDC partnered with the US Census Bureau to conduct the Household Pulse Survey (HPS), a report that describes trends in the prevalence of symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorder in adults. The partnership aims to rapidly monitor changes in mental health status and access to care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The HPS is a fast-reacting online survey that uses a probability-based sample design to measure the social and economic impact of the pandemic on households in the United States

In addition, questions about mental health symptoms were extracted from the validated patient health questionnaire for depression and anxiety. Typical questions included whether in the past seven days the patient had had symptoms such as nervousness or anxiety, could not stop worrying, had little interest in activities, and felt depressed, dejected, or hopeless.

Symptoms have been noted in patients with symptoms of anxiety and depression that occurred more than half the days or almost every day. In addition, respondents were asked whether they had been taking a prescription drug for their mental health problem, had received advice or therapy from a doctor, or needed advice or treatment but did not receive it in the past four weeks.

The team found that between August 19, 2020 and February 1, 2021, the number of people who had symptoms of anxiety or depression in the past seven days increased from 36.4 percent to 41.5 percent. Those who said they needed but not received psychological counseling in the past four weeks rose from 9.2 percent to 11.7 percent.

The increases were more pronounced in adults between the ages of 18 and 29 and in adults with less than high school education.

The team found that using the HPS data can help assess the impact of strategies to combat adult mental health during the pandemic. The study results can serve as a guide for interventions for groups disproportionately affected by the global health crisis.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, continuous monitoring of mental health trends based on demographics is near real-time,” concluded the researchers in the study.

“These trends could be used to assess the impact of strategies addressing mental health and adult care during the pandemic and to guide interventions for groups that are disproportionately affected,” they added.


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