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Covid-19 and mental health of Americans

Do you know

  • About half of Americans will meet the criteria for a DSM-IV disorder sometime in their life, with first onset usually in childhood or adolescence?
  • 1 in 25 Americans have serious mental illness like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression?
  • In any given year, 1 in 5 Americans have a diagnosable mental health condition?
  • Mental illnesses are among the most common health conditions in the USA. Millions of Americans live with various types of mental health issues and serious mental illnesses.

These mental health statistics are a straightforward indication of the fact that understanding and improving our overall mental health is now more significant than it was ever before.

Mental health is actually our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It is always subject to change depending upon various personal events and a variety of social issues and its contribution towards overall well-being of an individual can never be underestimated. Mental health is crucial component of overall health; mental conditions and illnesses affect physical health adversely. Long-term depression may cause stroke, type 2 diabetes and heart diseases

 People usually use word mental health and mental illness interchangeably, but both are two different things; one can have mental illness but at the same time he or she can be emotionally, psychologically and socially well.

Mental health may change over time but you can maintain a good mental health by:

  • Connecting and getting along with others
  • Keeping yourself away from negativity
  • Being physically active
  • Cooperating with others
  • Maintaining good professional relations
  • And by allowing your body to get enough rest

World mental health day observed on 10th October every year has significant role in raising Covid-19 and mental health of Americans - World Mental Health Day - TDN Blogawareness about mental well-being and aiding people experiencing various mental disorders. This year World Mental Health Day October 10, 2020 was completely different from those observed in prior years because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has changed our lives considerably. 2020 being most challenging year of the century impacted mental health of millions of individuals adversely.

Among people whose mental health is subject to more risk due to Covid-19 pandemic are:

  • Health care workers, taking care of patients in difficult circumstances, working despite knowing the risks of bringing covid-19 home with them;
  • workers worried about their livelihood including those who were already victims of poverty;
  • students having no choice other than taking classes from home and worried about their futures; and
  • most importantly people with mental health issues compelled to be more isolated than ever before (and this is why about 80% of the people having mental health problems say that Covid-19 and national response have made their mental health worse)

Economic consequences of the pandemic have compelled many entrepreneurs to fire most of the staff members or even shut down their businesses completely leaving themselves and their staff the victim of various mental diseases

The grief of those who have lost their loved ones in this pandemic and could not even say good bye to them for the last time seems inexpressible and they need an immediate mental health support.

So, the demand for services of health care professionals and psychologist has increased significantly and will increase further in the coming time period.

A recent study conducted to study the USA mental health, substance use and suicidal ideation during Covid-19 pandemic reported elevated levels of adverse mental health conditions:Covid-19 and mental health of Americans - Suicidal Ideation - TDN Blog

  • Prevalence of symptoms of anxiety disorder was about three times of those reported in the same period during 2019 (second quarter of 2019) being 25.5% during second quarter of 2020 vs 8.1% during the second quarter of prior year
  • Similarly, prevalence of depressive disorder was about four times of that reported in the same period during 2019 (second quarter of 2019) being 24.3% during second quarter of 2020 vs 6.5% during the second quarter of prior year
  • One fourth of the respondents reported symptoms of TSRD (Trauma and stressor-related disorder) related to the current pandemic
  • Every 1 in 10 respondents confirmed that just because of Covid-19 either they started substance use or increased the quantity of substance use
  • Suicide ideation doubled in comparison to that reported in the same quarter of 2018. About 10.7% respondents reported serious consideration of suicide in the previous 30days vs 4.3% reported during the same period of 2018

Considerably unfavorable facts and figures related to mental and behavioral impact of Covid-19 pandemic emphasize the need to prevent and treat these conditions. Here are some measures to come out of this situation:

  • Clinical diagnosis and treatment options must be easily accessible to everyone
  • Telehealth facilities must be promoted in order to assist people in dealing with substance use, suicidal ideation and depression.
  • Extensive researches must be conducted to find the actual drivers behind the adverse mental and behavioral health during covid-19
  • Development and application of covid-19 tailored screening instruments for early diagnosis of Covid-19 TSRD is inevitable, because early diagnosis will prevent early level TSRD to transform into chronic level TSRD and chronic conditions increase the risk of mental illness.
  • Strong communication whether one on one or community level may help reduce the stress levels in individuals being adversely impacted by Covid-19 consequences
  • Developing coping skills in individuals through online training channels can also prove beneficial in early treatment of the bad mental health.

Mental health is significant for overall well-being of an individual as adverse mental condition can lead to various physical problems. If someone faces certain mental health issues but does not go for early diagnosis or treatment, this problem gets worse over time.

Think differently and always pay attention to your mental health, whenever you feel any sudden changes in your mood, emotions and behavior, don’t overlook it, discuss with someone or judge yourself carefully, and if you feel the need for some psychological treatment or therapy then consult professional psychiatrist as soon as possible before the condition gets worse. Your positive mental health allows you to work at your full potential, enhances your productivity and in turn you are able to make meaningful contributions to your own life and to your community.


1. World Mental Health Day: an opportunity to kick-start a massive scale-up in investment in …

2. Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020

3. Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication

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