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Underlying Issues Are Exacerbating Mental Health Challenges during Covid-19 Pandemic

While it is impossible to clearly identify a correlation between COVID-19 and the negative impacts on mental health this early in the pandemic, it is possible to examine what is already known about social isolation, depression, anxiety, domestic violence, income insecurity, and stress and apply it to the current circumstances. Each of those issues preexists in the U.S., and existing evidence suggests that the conditions created by COVID-19 would exacerbate each one, leading to a negative impact on mental health. Respondents of the aforementioned MHA screening (2020) cited the following reasons for their current mental health state: “loneliness and isolation, relationship problems, current events, and, increasingly, financial problems.”

A recent brief by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), “The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use,” cited recent KFF poll results from March to mid-July. In July, over half of all surveyed U.S. adults reported worry and stress related to COVID-19 had a negative impact on their mental health, up from 32% in March. Additionally, KFF (2020) suggested, “Many adults are also reporting specific negative impacts on their mental health and wellbeing, such as difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%), increases in alcohol consumption or substance use (12%), and worsening chronic conditions (12%), due to worry and stress over the coronavirus.” Of those who reported they had “excellent, very good, or good health,” over half (51%) said worry or stress related to the coronavirus had a negative impact on their mental health. Of those who reported they had “only fair or poor health,” some 62% reported worry or stress related to the coronavirus had a negative impact on their mental health. The following table reflects the results (Panchal et al., 2020):

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References

Panchal, N., Kamal, R., Orgera, K., Cox, C., Garfield, R., Hamel, L., Muñana, C., Chidambaram, P. (2020). The implications of COVID-19 for mental health and substance use. Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). Retrieved from: www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/the-implications-of-covid-19-for-mental-health-and-substance-use/

 

This blog post continues our series of excerpts from the HealthStream article, As COVID-19 Spreads, So Does Its Impact on Mental Health. Future excerpts will include:

  • Symptoms Pointing to a Mental Health Crisis
  • Social Isolation and Loneliness Linked to Depression
  • Stressful Environments Could Lead to Increased Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence
  • Anxiety and Depression Related to Job Loss and Income Insecurity
  • Stress on Healthcare Workers May Lead to Burnout and Poor Mental Health in an Already Fragile Field
  • Anticipating a Surge of Mental Health Challenges alongside Pandemic Aftermath

Download the full article about the impact of Covid-19 on mental health here.

The Mental Health Imperative

As public understanding of mental health issues and disorders grows, the demand for behavioral health services will continue to increase. This growing market must prepare to serve the more than 40 million Americans (one in five) with a mental health condition—56 percent of them currently do not receive treatment. At HealthStream, we understand that behavioral health services and the required competencies may look a little different from other providers. That’s why some of the largest behavioral health organizations in the country have partnered with HealthStream to mitigate risk, improve staff competence, and increase overall efficiency. Explore our solutions for mental health staff and professionals.

PLEASE NOTE: The information in the article excerpted here was considered current at the time of its publishing. However, the COVID-19 pandemic is an ever-evolving disaster due to new findings, data, and availability of resources. Please refer to the CDC website for the latest detailed information when you need it.

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