Alexandria, VA - Tens of thousands of people experienced serious mental health symptoms in July as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to take a huge toll on the mental health of the nation, according to new data released today by Mental Health America (MHA).
MHA, which has been using its online mental health screening program – www.mhascreening.org – to track the real-time impact of the pandemic on mental health conditions, reported that more than a quarter million people took a mental health screening in July. This was the largest monthly number in the six years of the program, which has now reached more than 5.5 million people with tools and resources to learn more about their mental health conditions and improve or maintain their mental health.
“In July, more than 72,000 of our screeners indicated moderate to severe symptoms of depression, more than 39,000 had moderate to severe systems of anxiety, and more than 19,000 had symptoms of psychosis – the highest numbers we have ever seen,” commented MHA President and CEO, Paul Gionfriddo.
“Collectively, since the end of February more than 263,000 people over and above what we would have expected have screened moderate to severe for depression or anxiety,” he added. “This reflects how pervasive mental health conditions are becoming in the general population as a result of the pandemic.”
Screening respondents cite loneliness and isolation, relationship problems, current events, and, increasingly, financial problems as reasons for their mental health conditions at the present time. While young people continue to be disproportionately affected by both anxiety and depression, different populations cite different reasons for their concerns. Severe mental health conditions also appear to be on the rise.
“In addition to hundreds of thousands experiencing depression or anxiety, more than 42,000 people have also now experienced symptoms related to emerging psychosis,” Gionfriddo added. This suggests that stress from the pandemic is also playing a role in the development of these symptoms.
“Most worrisome are the 90,000 plus people who report regularly thinking of suicide or self-harm – more than 30,000 in the month of July alone.”
MHA has resources on its website at www.mhanational.org for anyone worried about their mental health or the mental health of loved ones.
“In addition,” Gionfriddo concluded, “we are asking all elected officials and candidates for office this year to talk about mental health, to stress its importance, to favor policies that provide access to mental health services and supports across the spectrum, and to set an example by working to build an inclusive foundation of mental health supports for the entire population.
“We need to bend the curve of these numbers, and we need to do it today – before emerging conditions become Stage 4 crises.”
For more data and information related to MHA Screening results, please visit here.