America’s mental health is in a bad place, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The number of Americans thinking about suicide is rising, and many more are showing signs of mental disorders, a CDC study found. Nearly 41% of the 5,412 people who responded to the CDC study at the end of June reported “at least one unfavorable mental or behavioral condition.”
These numbers are three to four times higher than the CDC was seeing at the same time last year. Mental health assistance and support systems are “urgently needed,”; according to the CDC.
Nearly 11% of American adults said they had seriously considered suicide within the last 30 days – and young adults seem to be feeling the most emotional turmoil of any age group, with 25.5% of the 18-24 crowd saying they had considered suicide.
The numbers were particularly high for blacks (15.1%) and Hispanics (18.6%).
The idea of suicide was highest for essential workers, at 21.7%, and unpaid caregivers, who reported a shocking 30.7%.
Substance abuse is also on the rise. More than 13% of Americans said they started abusing alcohol, drugs or any other substance to cope with the stress of the coronavirus pandemic, or that their substance abuse has worsened as a result.
The findings are not surprising to some.
The Welfare Trust, a nationwide mental health organization, predicted the country’s decline in mental health due to isolation, insecurity and unemployment caused by COVID-19, McClatchy News reported.
The pandemic so far and its coming months or years will sow the seeds for some 75,000 “deaths of despair,” Besimi estimated.
All the trauma caused, be it mental, emotional, financial or all of the above, will not end with a vaccine – those problems will most likely overcome the pandemic for years, according to the Trust.
Governments at the federal and local levels can take action to alleviate despair and save lives, he told Drs. Benjamin F. Miller, chief executive officer of the Trust Trust strategy, told CNN in May.
This includes supporting community organizations, providing “meaningful work” for the unemployed, making mental health and addiction service more accessible, and more.
“We can change the numbers – the deaths have not happened yet,” Miller said.