I went back and forth and back again when trying to choose a title for this story. For the past 6 months, I have reported on a series of crises of physical and mental health in the United States, most of them relating to Covid-19 in some way. I want people to understand that some of these mental health challenges we face as a country may be worse than ever before, but I want it to be clear that I think we were heading in this direction regardless. The opioid addiction crisis, which I have reported on as much as Covid-19, was already here before this new Coronavirus existed, but we have a lot of data suggesting that the pandemic and the quarantined lifestyle is bad for people with substance use disorder as well as a range of other mental health disorders. It is almost certainly bad for people with depression and bipolar disorder to name just a few major illnesses because higher stress and less contact with loved ones are things we would consider dangerous for people with depression and bipolar disorder even in the best of times, and Covid-19 has the added effect of threatening our lives and livelihoods on a daily basis.
I think that all the mental health challenges I will talk about in the rest of this article were already with us a year ago, and I do not think we were properly dealing with these things before Covid-19. Even though it is crazy to think that we would be able to solve other health issues while also trying to solve Covid-19, some glaring weaknesses in our health system and our way of life are being highlighted by the current pandemic and some are so serious that we would be sacrificing tens of thousands more lives if we ignored the data that is coming in regarding mental health and substance use during Covid-19. Having touched on the substance use disorder numbers earlier this week, and having discussed the responses from some of the best drug rehabs in Florida and Alabama, I want to take a close look at the mental health statistics that have been released by the CDC recently. During the Covid-19 pandemic, 40% of American adults report at least one mental health issue. That is a good sign for people being comfortable reporting on their own mental health, and considering the serious situation the world is facing, 40% may not be too surprising, though it is very high. The data quickly becomes much more concerning, however, as 10% of adults have seriously considered suicide. That number scares me. Let’s continue with some statistics on young people.
70% of young adults are reporting anxiety and depression. Adults have to take some ownership in that 70% number, more kids experiencing anxiety and depression right now seems to be partial because of the failure of adults to deal with Covid-19 effectively and deal with each other effectively politically and otherwise to make a society where children feel at ease. People will always have physical and mental health challenges that experts will need to help them with, but when huge portions of young people start experiencing depression and anxiety, the system is starting to break. 25% of young people have seriously considered suicide. Almost 19% of Hispanic respondents had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days, and black respondents reported suicidal thoughts at a rate of 15%. 8 percent of white respondents reported suicidal ideation, and 6% of Asian respondents reported thinking of suicide as well. As scary as all these numbers are, the black and Hispanic numbers are particularly stunning, along with the unconscionable numbers from young people. I might have more to say on this topic when I return to it later this week, but for now I thought it was important to at least shine a light on these publicly available statistics from work done at the CDC. As always, if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, more information on the best drug rehab in Florida is available on the Programs page. If you or a loved one is in a mental health crisis, you can call 1-800-662-HELP right now.
By T.A. Cannon (Contact me at TACannonWriting@gmail.com)
All statistics from CDC.gov