Pandemic has led to ‘national mental health crisis,’ American Psychological Association survey finds

Thomas Catennaci, DCNF 

The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to an alarming “national mental health crisis,” according to an American Psychological Association report.

The American Psychological Association’s (APA) annual “Stress in America” report highlighted the results of a survey that the organization conducted. The results, which showed the coronavirus pandemic is having an outsized effect on Americans’ mental health, have caused the APA to sound the alarm, the report said.

“Our 2020 survey is different,” the report said. “It reveals that Americans have been profoundly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the external factors Americans have listed in previous years as significant sources of stress remain present and problematic.”

“The unusual combination of these factors and the persistent drumbeat of a crisis that shows no sign of abating that is leading APA to sound the alarm: We are facing a national mental health crisis that could yield serious health and social consequences for years to come,” the report said.

Coronavirus hasn’t just affected those who have lost family and friends from the virus, the report said. Work, education, health care and the economy have all been impacted affecting all Americans.

“Behind this devastating loss of life is immense stress and trauma for friends and families of those who died; for those infected; for those who face long recoveries; and for all Americans whose lives have been thrown into chaos in countless ways, including job loss, financial distress, and uncertain futures for themselves and their nation,” the report said.

The APA survey found that teenagers and young adults have felt the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic the most. People aged 13-23  are experiencing elevated stress and are already reporting symptoms of depression, the survey found.

Meanwhile, substance abuse and overdose deaths have reportedly risen during the pandemic, according to The Associated Press. Although, there isn’t available national data, nine states shared preliminary overdose death data with The AP, which indicated 2020 will surpass 2019’s record 71,000 overdose deaths.

The state data shared with The AP showed overdose deaths in 2020 outpacing overdose deaths in 2019 over comparable periods.

“All indicators seem to be pointing to the fact that there is more drug related activity — and, unfortunately, overdoses — nationally,” Jeff Beeson, deputy director of a federally authorized grant program that oversees ODMAP, told The AP.

ODMAP tracks emergency calls related to overdoses, according to The AP. ODMAP data showed 62% of the U.S. counties it tracks saw an increase in overdose calls since the coronavirus lockdown began.

President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in March as the novel coronavirus spread rapidly around the world.

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