Alexandria, VA – Mental Health America (MHA), with support from Lundbeck, today released a new brief, Psychosis and COVID-19: Communities in Need Across the U.S., analyzing data collected from 175,795 individuals who took a Prodromal Questionnaire – Brief Version (PQ-B) screen from January 2020-October 2021 through the MHA Online Screening Program. The analysis found Franklin County, Ohio (Columbus area) had the highest percentage of the population screen at-risk for psychotic-like experiences of all large counties in 2020 and 2021.
More broadly, 79% of those who took a PQ-B screen from January 2020-October 2021 scored at risk for psychotic-like experiences. The analysis also showed many more people were taking the PQ-B screen in 2021 versus 2020. The number of people self-selecting to complete a psychosis screen was 29% higher in 2021 than in 2020. Psychosis is a general term to describe a set of symptoms of mental illnesses that result in strange or bizarre thinking, perceptions (sight, sound), behaviors, and emotions.
“The last two years have been particularly difficult times. American youth and families are in distress. We know that trauma exposure, psychosocial stress, and discrimination are all associated with risk of psychosis. We need to act now to identify the populations at risk for psychotic-like experiences and provide resources to help prevent the onset of mental illnesses. That is exactly what this analysis aims to do,” said Schroeder Stribling, president and CEO of Mental Health America.
“With historically high positive at-risk screening rates, there is a clear need to support communities and people with psychotic-like experiences,” says Charise Dunn, Lundbeck’s Senior Manager of Patient Advocacy. “Lundbeck is proud to support a project that will help equip communities to identify and respond to mental health trends faster than previously able.”
Psychosis Key Findings
A psychotic-like experience is an event that affects an individual’s thoughts and perceptions, and causes some loss of contact with reality. It can be a symptom of several mental health conditions, and in some cases may lead to schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders if left untreated. “Clinical high-risk” refers to the period in which an individual experiences changes in mental health – including changes in perceptions, cognition and mood prior to the onset of their first psychotic episode. Screening for “clinical high-risk” helps to identify individuals who are at heightened risk of developing psychosis. These data are critically important in the prevention and early intervention of psychotic disorders.
- Alaska had the highest percentage of individuals score at-risk for psychotic-like experiences in comparison to the overall state population, followed by Alabama, and Maine.
- Among large counties: Franklin County, Ohio, had the highest percentage of the population score at-risk for psychotic-like experiences, followed by Bexar County, Texas, and Maricopa County, Arizona.
- Among small and mid-size counties: Bristol City, Virginia had the highest percentage of the population score at-risk for psychotic-like experiences, followed by Whitley County, Kentucky, and Humboldt County, Nevada.
- Age: While young adults ages 18-24 were the largest group of respondents, youth ages 11-17 were the most likely to score at risk of psychotic-like experiences on the PQ-B screen. 89% of 11-17-year-old screeners scored at risk on the psychosis screen.
- Income: Individuals who reported lower household incomes were more likely to screen at risk for psychotic-like experiences than those who reported higher household incomes. Among individuals who reported a household income of less than $20,000, 82% screened at risk for psychotic-like experiences.
Evaluating responses from people who took a psychosis screen on MHA Screening can provide insight into how psychotic-like experiences affect different communities and support targeted interventions for undertreated populations across the United States. This analysis is unique in that it can quickly identify local areas, down to the county level, with the greatest need for a faster and coordinated response amid the mental health crisis exacerbated by COVID-19.
This is the final analysis of a four-part series from MHA and Lundbeck identifying communities hardest-hit by the mental health impacts emerging amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Other briefs in the series examined suicidal ideation (released May 30, 2021), severe depression (released August 11, 2021), and trauma (released October 13, 2021).
Ultimately, this data will populate a publicly-available dashboard where stakeholders can obtain information about at-risk rates of suicide, severe depression, trauma, and psychosis at a state and county level throughout the U.S. The dashboard will be released in early 2022 and will identify communities in need of greater mental health supports, generate a better understanding of mental health concerns in the U.S., direct appropriate allocation of resources, and create an environment that promotes mental wellness at the population level.
The analysis was made possible by the support of Lundbeck US.
About Mental Health America
Mental Health America (MHA) is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all. MHA’s work is driven by its commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need them; with recovery as the goal. Learn more at MHAnational.org.
H. Lundbeck A/S (LUN.CO, LUN DC, HLUYY) is a global pharmaceutical company specialized in brain diseases. For more than 70 years, we have been at the forefront of neuroscience research. We are tirelessly dedicated to restoring brain health, so every person can be their best. We are committed to fighting stigma and discrimination against people living with brain diseases and advocating for broader social acceptance of people with brain health conditions. Our research programs tackle some of the most complex challenges in neuroscience, and our pipeline is focused on bringing forward transformative treatments for which there are few, if any therapeutic options.