Argyle, Texas, May 18, 2020—Headlines continue to focus on COVID-19 and one topic being spotlighted more frequently is the negative impact the virus is having on mental health. The global pandemic and ensuing economic downturn have negatively affected many people’s mental health. A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) found that nearly half (45%) of adults in the United States reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted due to worry and stress over the virus.¹
As the pandemic continues (and due to the measures taken to slow the spread of the virus, such as social distancing, business and school closures, and shelter-in-place orders), the negative impact on mental health will increase. Though absolutely necessary to prevent loss of life due to COVID-19, these measures unintendedly contribute to greater isolation and potential financial trouble. Anxiety is common as people are afraid of themselves or loved ones becoming ill and of the overall uncertainness of the pandemic.
National statistics and facts about the impact of COVID-19 on mental health:
- The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has reported that the calls to their disaster distress hotline increased 891 percent from March 2019 to March 2020.²
- Recent data shows that significantly higher shares of people who were sheltering in place (47%) reported negative mental health effects resulting from worry or stress related to coronavirus than among those not sheltering in place (37%). Negative mental health effects due to social isolation may be particularly pronounced among older adults and households with adolescents, as these groups are already at risk for depression or suicidal ideation.¹
- With long-term closures of childcare centers and schools, many parents are experiencing ongoing disruption to their daily routines. Findings from the early April KFF Tracking Poll show that among parents with children under the age of 18, nearly three out of five (57%) women say that worry or stress related to the coronavirus has negatively impacted their mental health, up from 36% of women in the KFF tracking poll conducted two weeks prior. The KFF Tracking Poll also finds that women with children under the age of 18 are more likely to report negative impacts to their mental health than their male counterparts (57% vs 32%, respectively).
- 54% of those who lost income or employment reported negative mental health impacts from worry or stress over coronavirus, compared to 40% of those who had not lost income or employment. 26% of people experiencing job or income loss reported major negative impacts on their mental health, compared to 15% of those who had not experienced job or income loss.¹
- Stressors in society tend to increase substance use. Alcohol purchases spiked last month [March] with U.S. sales rising 55% in the week ending March 21. States where recreational marijuana is legal have also seen more cannabis sold. Data from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission reported sales of $84.5 million of cannabis in March — the highest monthly total since recreational marijuana use was legalized in 2015.² The increased use of substances in isolation can lead to substance use disorder.
“We have seen that more and more people are reaching out for help with their addiction and mental health struggles during the pandemic,” says Sam Slaton MEd, LPC-S MBA, MHSM, Chief Operating Officer at Santé Center for Healing. “The need for mental health counseling and treatment for the disease of addiction will not slow down and may possibly increase during this time. Santé will continue to offer assistance to those in need as we have for the past 24 years.”
To provide more insights about COVID-19’s impact on mental health and addiction, Santé’s Sam Slaton is available for additional interviews and follow-up.