How you respond to stress during the COVID-19 pandemic can depend on your background, your social support from family or friends, your financial situation, your health and emotional background, the community you live in, and many other factors. The changes that can happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways we try to contain the spread of the virus can affect anyone.
People who are at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 for example, older people, and people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions, Children and teens, people caring for family members or loved ones, Frontline workers such as health care providers and first responders. Essential workers who work in the food industry, people who have existing mental health conditions, People who have lost their jobs, had their work hours reduced, or had other major changes to their employment, people who have disabilities or developmental delay. People who are socially isolated from others, including people who live alone, and people in rural or frontier areas, people in some racial and ethnic minority groups, People experiencing homelessness, People who live in congregate (group) settings. All these people can never be mentally balance during this pandemic as they will have a lot going in their minds as they are being unfortunate in this period. Some of them will be so stressed out and some others being depressed as they can no longer live the way they usually would have before the pandemic.
USA has recorded many depressed patients in their clinic during the pandemic. Three months into the coronavirus pandemic, the country is on the verge of another health crisis, with daily doses of death, isolation and fear generating widespread psychological trauma. Federal agencies and experts warn that a historic wave of mental-health problems is approaching: depression, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide.
Just as the initial outbreak of the novel coronavirus caught hospitals unprepared, the United States’ mental health system is vastly underfunded, fragmented and difficult to access before the pandemic is even less prepared to handle this coming surge.
Susan Borja, who leads the traumatic stress research program at the National Institute of Mental Health said she is awake at night on this problem, also said “I worry about the people the system just won’t absorb or won’t reach. I worry about the suffering that’s going to go untreated on such a large scale.” Data shows depression and anxiety already roiling the nation.
Nearly half of Americans report the coronavirus crisis is harming their mental health, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll. A federal emergency hotline for people in emotional distress registered a more than 1,000 percent increase in April compared with the same time last year. Last month, roughly 20,000 people texted that hotline, run by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Online therapy company Talkspace reported a 65 percent jump in clients since mid-February. Text messages and transcribed therapy sessions collected anonymously by the company show coronavirus-related anxiety dominating patients’ concerns. “People are really afraid,” Talkspace co-founder and CEO Oren Frank said. The increasing demand for services, he said, follows almost exactly the geographic march of the virus across the United States. “What’s shocking to me is how little leaders are talking about this. There are no White House briefings about it. There is no plan.”
The suicides of two New York health-care workers highlight the risks, especially to those combating the pandemic. Lorna Breen, a top New York emergency room doctor, had spent weeks contending with coronavirus patients flooding her hospital and sometimes dying before they could be removed from ambulances. She had no history of mental illness, her relatives have said in interviews, but struggled increasingly with the emotional weight of the outbreak before she died. Days later, reports emerged that a Bronx emergency medical technician also killed himself.
“If we don’t do something about it now, people are going to be suffering from these mental-health impacts for years to come,” said Paul Gionfriddo, president of the advocacy group Mental Health America. That could further harm the economy as stress and anxiety debilitate some workers and further strain the medical system as people go to emergency rooms with panic attacks, overdoses and depression, he said.
Mental-health experts are especially worried about the ongoing economic devastation. Research has established a strong link between economic upheaval and suicide and substance use. Even as some states begin easing stay at home restrictions, concerns persist about the psychological damage wrought by the pandemic. Texas is among the states relaxing coronavirus measures, with shoppers visiting Houston’s Galleria mall on Friday.
Research has shown interventions make a marked difference, such as limiting access to guns and lethal drugs, screening patients for suicidal thoughts, treating underlying mental conditions and ensuring access to therapy and crisis lines to call and text. “That’s why we need to act now,” Christine Moutier, chief medical officer for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention said.
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