By: Hannah Singer ’23
With the world now grappling with the effects of the global pandemic, our mental health has taken a drastic toll. Unable to interact with our friends and loved ones, the loneliness of our homes and the uncertainty of the future makes for a whirlwind of mental health issues.
As the unemployment rate and the Covid-19 cases surge daily, anxiety and worry about finances, health, and our loved ones increases.
A study done by Jean Twenge, a professor of Psychology at San Diego State University, shows that the abrupt shift in daily life “created a perfect storm for a crisis.”
In fact, the study, which surveyed just over 2000 adults in April 2020 and 19,330 adults in 2018, both asked the same general questions and revealed that “the 2020 participants were eight times as likely to screen positive for a serious mental illness.”
This drastic rise in mental health illnesses, as 28 percent of people today now have a serious mental health issue compared to the 3.4 percent in 2018, may soon overrun the mental health system.
Worse, just over the last month, “roughly 70 percent of American experienced moderate to severe distress,” which is “triple the rate seen in 2018.” Not even the researchers were expecting to see a mental health crisis increase this large.
Further, the study showed that younger adults (18-44) have taken the brunt of the mental health effects caused by the pandemic. Interestingly, adults over 60 had the smallest mental health effect increases.
Though it would make sense to believe that older adults would be more worried about the pandemic because the virus tends to hit the older population more severely, Twenge believes that, because they have more wealth to sit on and many are retired, they are not as worried about finances and job loss like the younger population.
Parents are being hit hard, too, by the pandemic. With almost all extracurricular activities cancelled and school now virtual, parents must juggle homeschool and entertaining their children, all while keeping up with their jobs and their health.
According to TIME, “the rate of severe distress rose from just 3 percent in 2018 to 37 percent las month” for parents and adults living with children and adolescents.
As the mental health hotline calls increase daily, researchers affirm that the mental health crises are soaring during this upsetting time.
If you are struggling with any mental health issues and would benefit from a phone call, reach out to National Alliance on Mental Illness’ hotline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).
As we face the uncertainty of tomorrow and struggle to grasp our new daily life, we must remember that we are not alone in our feelings of loneliness or anxiety about what our futures may bring.