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COVID and Mental Health: How You Can Be Affected

As we make our way into the new year, we are inundated with flashbacks of a year like no other — 2020. What started out as a year like all the rest quickly became a year of firsts for every single person on the planet. The reason? The COVID-19 pandemic. 

The first identified case of COVID-19 in the United States occurred on January 20, 2020. This quickly followed the identification of origin in Wuhan, China in December of 2019. What we as a global community did not know then was that COVID-19 was already in our communities. By mid-March, the United States went into full shut-down mode, closing everything from non-essential businesses and schools to even the borders of the country. What seemed to be a slowly growing concern quickly became a worldwide emergency in a matter of a few short weeks. 

Today, as we are almost at the one-year anniversary mark of COVID-19 in the United States, the data shows that we are in a worse situation nationally than we have ever been in regards to this pandemic. And while amazing things have come from the devastation of COVID-19 (such as an efficient, medically-sound vaccine), the lives of nearly 400,000 Americans weigh heavy on the minds of those who have thus far survived. Those who have made it through this impossible year with their physical health still intact are certainly not unscathed by what they have endured, as the mental strain the pandemic has placed on people all over the world is unimaginable. 

Mental Health Statistics During COVID-19

While COVID-19 is filling our hospitals to capacity and taking the lives of nearly 4,000 people a day, the destruction this virus has caused reaches much farther than that. While some research has been conducted on the state of mental health in the United States in the midst of this pandemic, there is still a lot more information to gather to truly determine how deeply impacted our nation has been on a mental health level. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released a report that reflected the state of mental health in American within the last week of June of 2020. That report showed the following:

  • 30.9% reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorders
  • 26.3% reported instances of COVID-19 TSRD (trauma-and-stressor-related disorder) 
  • 13.3% reported the increased use of substances to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic
  • 10.7% reported having suicidal thoughts within the past ten days 
  • 40.9% reported more than one adverse mental or behavioral health symptom

It is safe to say that if in June of 2020 people were feeling more stressed, traumatized, and depressed than before, that as we round out the year those numbers have increased along with rates related to the pandemic. It is imperative that at this time, Americans focus on how the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic can keep impacting their mental health in an effort to mitigate as much distress and upset as possible. 

How Can Your Mental Health be Affected During COVID-19?

No matter who you ask, COVID-19 has impacted their lives in more than one way. The vast majority of people living in the United States have faced several issues that have challenged their mental health at this time, and it is likely that you are one of them. You may be fully aware of the mental health hurdles you have had to jump over the past year, or you may not even realize how your mental health may have declined at this time. Either way, being aware of how the COVID-19 pandemic can affect you mentally is critical. Consider the following:

  • Loneliness — Practicing social distancing in public settings and among friends and family has placed a significant strain on millions of people. Not being able to spend time with the ones you love can increase feelings of loneliness, which can lead to pervasive sadness and even the development of depression. 
  • Anxiety — It is hard to not watch the news on TV (especially if you are staying at home) or see headlines when using your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Not only is the news doing 24/7 coverage of the pandemic, but they are also heavily involved in reporting other major events like civil rights movements and political protests. These constant images and words have the potential to produce anxiety in even the most calm of individuals. The fear of not knowing when things will go back to normal or if you will somehow contract COVID-19 and end up in the ICU is highly anxiety-provoking.
  • Pressure — The American people have never faced such a level of pressure than what they are facing now. People are being forced to create workspaces in their home, try to find new ways to connect with loved ones, keep their children who are not in school occupied and still learning, as well as try to maintain some sense of reality and peace. The pressure can simply become too much to handle, leading to hostility, anger, carelessness, sadness, and poor decision-making. 

Most of all, what each and every person in the country has experienced is trauma. No matter the age, race, gender, or sexual preference, the people of the United States have been traumatized and COVID and mental health issues have gone hand in hand. When traumatized, issues like those listed above can develop in full and the way in which you operate can become significantly different than ever before. We face repetitive trauma on a regular basis as we work to alter our lives to keep ourselves and others safe. If ignored, trauma can create a whole slew of mental health challenges ranging from anxiety to suicidal behaviors. 

Sober Living in Los Angeles, CA

If you are being negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, know that you are far from alone. There are millions of people who share your story. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to take good care of your mental health at this time. Our sober living services and mental health housing help bridge the gap between healing from your mental health issues and living a productive life. Learn more about Riviera Recovery and call us right now to get the care and support you need to do just that.