As the coronavirus death toll continues to rise, and cases top 5 million in the U.S. alone, there’s a growing shift in focus toward mental health and wellness.
According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25.5 percent, or one in four adults, ages 18-24, say they have contemplated suicide in the past month as a result of the pandemic. That’s more than three times the percentage of people in the same age group who reported suicidal ideation in the second quarter of 2019.
The staggering statistics come from a new CDC study, which surveyed 5,470 people between June 24 and June 30.
Of those surveyed, more than 40 percent said they had experienced a mental or behavioral health condition in relation to the pandemic. Thirty-one percent reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, while 26 percent of respondents reported trauma and stress-related disorder because of the pandemic. And 13 percent of those surveyed said they have turned to increased substance use to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19.
And the problem isn’t just among young adults. Twenty-two percent of essential workers said they had contemplated suicide in the last 30 days, along with 31 percent of self-reported “unpaid caregivers” of adults.
According to the report, suicidal ideation was more prevalent among males as well as hispanic and black minorities. Symptoms of COVID-19–related stress, anxiety, or depression, increased substance use, and suicidal ideation were more prevalent among employed than unemployed respondents.
When three pandemics converge.
Federal officials and public health experts have expressed growing concern of a possible mental health crisis at the hands of the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month the CDC found that more young people are dying of suicide and overdose in 2020 than they are of COVID-19.
“Mental health conditions are disproportionately affecting specific populations, especially young adults, Hispanic persons, black persons, essential workers, unpaid caregivers for adults, and those receiving treatment for preexisting psychiatric conditions,” the most recent report stated.
“Addressing mental health disparities and preparing support systems to mitigate mental health consequences as the pandemic evolves will continue to be needed urgently.”
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, help is available. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also text an emotional support counselor with the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.