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COVID pandemic stressing Americans’ mental health, data suggests

by DrewLUD

A year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers and health organizations are still trying to determine the extent of its impact on Americans’ mental health, but early data suggests it is significant.

Self-reported symptoms of anxiety and depression among American adults have more than tripled during the pandemic, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics has been gathering data on mental health changes during the pandemic with Household Pulse Surveys. Data released for early September shows 28.1% of American adults self-reporting symptoms of anxiety and 22.4% reporting symptoms of depression.

This time two years ago, 7.4% of American adults reported anxiety symptoms and 6.4% reported depression symptoms, according to a National Health Interview Survey, also conducted by the NHCS.

A sign at the end of the New Carrollton Metro Station shows the number for  the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Early in the pandemic, many mental health professionals expressed fears that the added stressors would lead to an increase in the suicide rate across the nation. 

Provisional data from the CDC shows national suicide deaths actually decreased by 5.6% from 2019 to 2020. While the decrease in completed suicides holds true for the state of Maryland, emergency department visits for suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts have increased during the pandemic.

September is National Suicide Prevention Month.

“We know that suicide risk has increased, even if suicide death has not shown increases on the general population,” Dr. Jodi Frey, professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Social Work, told Capital News Service. “So what that tells me as a researcher, and previously as a practitioner, is I don’t need to wait for data to show me that deaths are increasing. If I know risks are increasing, we need to act now.”

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Source: GANNETT Syndication Service