Fear, Isolation, Depression: The Mental Health Fallout of a Worldwide Pandemic
May 29, 2020
Data from crisis services offer clues to how Americans are coping with COVID-19. Compared to this time last year, the Disaster Distress Helpline at Provident Behavioral Health in St. Louis has had a tenfold increase in demand. Provident has seen changes in users’ concerns over time, from fear and uncertainty at the start of the pandemic to isolation and depression later on. Crisis Text Line, which has also had an uptick in use, has identified user trends since the pandemic began. At the start, many expressed anxiety about the virus, followed by worry about loved ones, and then financial stress. As the pandemic takes a longer-term toll, suicide and mental health issues may increase, according to Jerry Reed, senior vice president at Education Development Center. “But that’s only if we fail to prepare. We know that suicide is preventable,” he said. “Let’s take advantage of the time we have now and try to get ahead of the curve rather than waiting.”
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